ode to my teeth

you've traveled with me
across continents.

in india you've
chewed chapattis
bathed in mango lassis
tasted prasad
bestowed by holy hands
fragrant with rosewater
sandalwood and ghee.

you've felt the heat of mole
in mexico
bathed yourselves
in cold cerveza
corona dos equis negra modelo
endured the sting
of tequila.

in catholic school
prepared for holy communion
never allowed to touch you
going down.

on steamy nights
you've opened wide
to taste the salt
of enraptured lovers.

other nights
you've ground your way
through jungian dreams
fleeing shadows
of intruders come to take
your life away.

some of you
have gone astray
cracked and lost
beyond repair.

some of you
have had new caps
white as himalayan peaks
carved by artists
in white coats.

tarnished some
by tea and time
let bleach return
your pristine state.

none of you
have gone unloved
been taken lightly
for your work

of chewing
grinding
smiling
gnashing
living in your
scarlet house.

alexandra rymland july 18, 2003