Wisdom Teeth

Location

Cincinnati
United States

I was your wisdom teeth

 

You were coming of age and I wanted so badly

 

To belong in the most intimate inside corners of your mouth

 

To curl up safe inside your cheeks as you turned into man

 

To sink my roots in your skull

 

To build my home in your gums

 

To be the words in the wet warmth between your lips

 

But I did not fit

 

And I was so stuck on being there

 

That you had to rip me out

 

With sterile and chemical and rubber-glove hand

 

The novacaine turned you numb

 

The removal of me grew you no wiser

 

And I am lying on the dried-blood bottom of an ice metal trash can because

 

You did not want me in you

 

You did not want anyone in you

 

No tiny

 

No foreign

 

No bones backpacking through the tunnels in your jaw

 

Carrying sensitivities over their shoulders that you did not know how to handle

 

Or how to love

 

Or how to let in

 

Without your mind shrill-spitting

 

That my kisses feel like stitches

 

While I pinky-swore

 

I cannot replace the sugar your mama never put on your cereal

 

but I can find the nerve to call you baby

 

and it won’t rot your teeth when your tongue tastes it”

 

My promise was hard glue

 

Your teeth never rotted

 

But I am teeth

 

I am long licked over and spat out wisdom teeth

 

And I am rotted.

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