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Teeth in my hands

October 3, 2011

by Victor David Sandiego

from The Second Book of Muwadi

Through love, I dropped God in a deep grave and covered him with salt and sand. My mouth spilled forth an assortment of smirking wolves. But the sun flowed over the water into the horizon and God rose. He sealed the cavern of my mouth with an enormous tombstone.

Only my teeth escaped this reckoning and I clenched them as a fever in my hands, helpless to speak of my devotion.

But I could rattle my teeth in a pleasing rhythm and I went from stranger to stranger, shaking my fists. Some allowed the music in my fingers to enter the house of their heart, but many favored the copper clink of coins.

In the temple, a priest presented a basket. I extended my teeth in silence, but he moved his face from side to side and backed away from my benediction.


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Victor David Sandiego was the winner of the 1st WordStorm Poetry Competition held on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a winner of the 2008 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize, and the winner of the 2009 Crab Creek Review poetry contest. His work appears in various journals and on public radio. He lives in the high desert of central México. For more, see his website, VictorDavid.com.

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  1. Barbara LaMorticella
    October 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Very evocative. Oddly, the line: “I could rattle my teeth in a pleasing rhythm and I went from stranger to stranger, shaking my fists”– evoked a smile.

  2. October 4, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Holy wow.

  3. October 4, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Great to see this issue start, and with such a strong voice. Now i am curious for what is next.

  4. October 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

    A silent benediction (etymology from Latin “to say or speak well”). Teeth to shake and maybe cast like cowrie shells. What a wonderful piece, sliding through surrealism to mysticism.

  5. Barbara LaMorticella
    January 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Oh, an opening into the dark side of worship…!

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