Wisdom Teeth


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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