The Great Red Mouth, The Tooth

I dreamt of you last night.

Not you by name or you by face,
but you as the fever under my skin knows you:

The great red mouth opens wide,
the tongue works at the loosened tooth,
the tongue writhes in the brine barrel,
the tongue nails itself to the deck boards,
the cats pace hungry on the porch
for a mouth of meat.

The great red mouth
yawns down a quart of honey,
yawns down a quart of molten salt
what are you trying to cure?
what are you trying to preserve?
you end yourself trying but try —
I’m done trying.

In this dream of you,
I am the tooth; I rock in the gum,
declaring myself
with the copper not-blood taste of error,
with the bent angle bite,
with the wrong cradle, the wrong dock
for the incisor me.

Let me leap loose
from your great red mouth;
clench your jaw and I swear to god
I’ll crack and splinter; I’ll myself shear off
even if I leave my goddamn root behind.

Great red mouth
spit me out, wrench me out,
let me berth off in a bite of red apple
or I swear to god
I’ll abscess myself. I’ll eat you alive.

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