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For Falling Out and For Keeping

You asked your mother
if you could keep your baby teeth
and now you have a jar of them
on a shelf above your dresser,
beside a tin cup full of thistles
and a book of Buddhist prayers,
a red book, and purple thistles.

You told me once
you would like to die and be buried
with a mouthful of seeds, without a box,
out in a field of swaying green grass
so thistle could grow up out of you.
You said it was the closest
you could get to reincarnation,
and when I asked what the baby teeth
were for, you said they were for falling out
and for keeping.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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