You can tell a lot about a girl from her teeth

Bits of creamed spinach
rest in the valleys between teeth
for hours before scraped away.

The little girl tucks her fallen tooth
beneath her pillow, finds a dollar in its place
in the morning.
How she learned to sell parts of herself.

The woman unbuckles her jaw
like a suitcase, removes her graying
teeth to scrub them beneath the faucet.

The orthodontist admires the fragments of
wisdom tooth beneath his outdated lens.

The carcasses of cuticles
fingers bloody dimpled with incisor holes.

Jars of children’s teeth
line oak shelves –
a collector’s paradise.


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