526 Readings

Burying Our Daughter’s Teeth

I cleaned the house one hundred days after
the day of which we no longer speak

and set the baby’s teeth inside your art
deco bowl. They looked so lost tinkering

around the matte aqua glaze, so I tucked them
in to sleep amidst their friends of ash and bone,

curled on downy potting soil pillows
as if I’d pulled my mother’s old afghan around

their tiny saw-tooth chins. Inside this careful planting,
it will be as if she still sleeps in the clavicle space

between us. There on sheets with names like Dusk
and Smoke, we will dream together of curlicue

roots and the brittle red leaves placed
in her Buddha-doll hands, the writhing worm

plucked from her hungry latch-tongued mouth.
We will not notice the sour smell of our compost

heap gone wrong and the musty basement
out-gassing into the backyard, because it will be only

your head on my lap,
our daughter on your cardigan chest

in the late autumn sun—hemlock, whip stitch, peat moss.
Posted 08/27/13
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