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January 29, 2010

by Arlene Ang

Teeth start out as milk.
What is the child if not an etch
on the kitchen wall? A vertical growth,
as in chocolates and Rice Krispies,
as in the higher the object is from the ground,
the more it acquires velocity during the fall.

The caries begins as sweetness,
a stray kitten mewling to be allowed in.
From enamel to root, the tooth
is consumed. Only later,
the awareness of destruction surfaces.
Pain illuminates the skull. Then amputation.

Afterwards every night begins
with denture fizz, the removal of self-
recognition before the mirror. How the lips
part as if from happiness, trapping
the loss deeper into the face.

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Arlene Ang is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent being a collaborative work with Valerie Fox, Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (Texture Press, 2008). She lives in Spinea, Italy where she serves as staff editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. More of her work may be viewed at leafscape.org.

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  1. Alex Cigale
    February 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Lovely and succinct, Arlene, from the first: a very punchy line. AC

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