Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cracked Teeth

Her cracked teeth seemed for a moment to have replaced her lips. And then they were no longer cracked but whole, complete, real teeth that could sing and chew and smile, teeth that could, for a moment, make one feel something once called lust but now, after so many years, one merely calls strange, or worse, uncomfortable. Her teeth did this, or seemed to, and then, just as suddenly, they vanished. They went back into that hole, her mouth, and they hid, they hid and cracked all over again, tucked away, as they were, behind those fleshy gray shields, her cheeks and lips and nose, gray and dull and hard, like the back of a tortoise, bruised with centuries of waiting, creased and sullied with age, like feelings, those things we used to have, or that we convinced ourselves that we must have had, but which are now calloused and gray, dead from inactivity, unstirred, silent. Inside of a mouth that can no longer speak, that no longer contorts into either a smile or grimace but instead simply sits, sits and waits, quiescent, blank, housing teeth that are cracked and dried, desiccated from centuries of silence, centuries of waiting, only to now, for an instant, appear as if whole, as if somehow pieced back together, perhaps even capable of speech, of sound, of smiles and grimaces, of feeling, again, for a moment only, capable of lust or something like it, and then, just as quickly, retreating, forever now, back into the hole, her mouth, where they will sit like carrion, waiting for when, at last, they will have crumbled away completely, for when they will no longer have to wait, when it will, at last, be over.

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