Tooth 29



Take the dawning sun, warm on your face.
Hold the icepack to your jaw.
Wait on the ibuprofen.

What makes the morning fine?

Where is your current complaint,
your past grief, your future worry?
Where is your optional
suffering now?

Tooth 29 pulses in its damp
cave, throbs and recedes,
circles back, stabs.
Visits its neighbors,
ascends to your ear; speaks.

Tooth 29 has your number.
It counts
the painless moments wasted
by your sad imaginings.  It numbers,
patiently, the endless occasions of
your squandered well-being.

How pallid the pain we conjure next
to the pain that conjures us.

Honor, then, your bicuspid;
praise your molar. Learn their
dark scripture; accept
their severe blessing.

They have your pain.
All of it.
Take true misery’s instruction:
Do not misplace it again.

When they release it, when they
lift their rooted feet from
your tender throat,
let it go, with all its
unworthy impersonations.

Do not call them back.

Remember the clarifying
window in which you
waited, considering
the ice pack, the ibuprofen,

what makes the morning fine.





  1. you’ve got me smiling
    to my non
    toothache, Cate 🙂


    1. Love every moment of that, Brother! 🙂


  2. Natalie Swift · · Reply

    Such a thought-provoking piece, and expressed beautifully! ❤
    I simply love how you've linked these two entities together…
    Makes me wonder, what does make a morning fine?


    1. Thank you so much! Physical pain reminds us that so little, really — including its absence — suffices to make a moment fine, if we don’t get in there and muck it up. 🙂 I wish you a beautiful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Natalie Swift · · Reply

        So true…
        It’s like how you can only appreciate a clear nose when you have a cold
        Clearly, I don’t have poetic bone in my body 😉

        You’re welcome, Cate! ❤


        1. Out of 206, I bet there’s at least one. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

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