IV. Teeth

My molars are rotting. I feel the gross crumbling decay, the dull swells of pain…and when I gape at the mirror, lips scoped wide, I see a variegate brown consuming white enamel, spreading front towards my bicuspids and incisors… All is going burnt-toast, and I can feel also the roots loosening as teeth fidget in their sockets. From the umbrageous back of my mouth (as I watch in rising alarm), they begin to tumble forward and out, pinging on the porcelain of the sink as they hit, and gathering about the quickly-obstructed drain. I am scooping them up with trembling fingers and trying to insert them back into their scummy cavities but this is futile since the tarnished little pieces keep slipping from between my thumb and index and by now my gums are entirely umber-plum on the road to black and the pain is unendurable.

The epiphany comes. My faults are to blame! I’ve brushed too infrequently…indulged in extravagant sweets…guzzled unconscionable amounts of whisky. Back in ’21 I dodged the Venus draft. At work I’m often a figment of my boss’s imagination. Worst of all, I wasn’t around for the birth of my twin daughters – those sweet and tiny oyster faces screaming up into paparazzi flashbulbs. Their mother has never forgiven me.

I wake up. Humbug nightmare. How unoriginal, my sleeping brain, continuing to squeeze terror from a topic whose dreambook page sits so well-thumbed. Dental necrosis: (1) fear of aging; (2) impending death of loved one; (3) anxiety over upcoming change or decision. Etc. However, relief still rolls around me like a warm salty sea. The toy moth ideas float here, there, and I feel at ease in the knowledge that my putrid ivories are bound to the borders of that world – that here in waking life my teeth are healthy and whole.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I awake. I think upon the dreams-within-dreams. I look at the green-yellow striping of sun on my bed and feel the lateness of morning. At the lower back of my jaw, a muted throb. I nudge the right molars with my tongue. One wiggles distinctly.

~ by kingzoko on May 10, 2015.

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