The Crooked Tooth

I can see the pain in her eyes.

But I know not why.

Nor why she chooses to smile widely,

with that one crooked tooth,

prominently holding on to the one behind,

growing assertively on it,

in the undying spurt of survival instinct.


She always did have a wide smile.

A doughnut could fit into it,

and yet leave behind sticky emptiness in its midst;

just like her apparent glee.


Her eyes often held a faraway look.

Even though we shared much mirth in the now,

Her glance often carried with it glimpses of other worlds;

Ones which I didn't know existed,

Which I couldn't understand or know.

Few of which she knew,

And yet many others that she couldn't place.


It was like we were always playing hide and seek,

and no matter how far we went,

or how long we played for;

I couldn't reach behind the doors she'd bolted from the inside,

I didn't know if behind them lay well furnished rooms,

or dilapidated ruins.

And there was never a key.


Not even a map,

where she could draw rooms we shared,

and mark out crosses;

for all those other rooms that existed,

but I couldn't enter.

For even she didn't know where she stood.


It was a sunny afternoon,

When that tooth stood it's ground,

While the world it existed in,

moved about,

In its many words, verbalizations and sounds of mirth.

Seldom reaching her eyes.


Soon, a conversational break broke out,

The occasional cloud gliding past a sunny sky.

The curve of smiles morphing into flatlines of silence.

And so, the tooth was engulfed in its accrescent world.

It was then that I realized,

I'd never know all of what made her.


Picture Credits: Tooth art created and captured by Tim Schoon: University of Iowa.


What kind of a world do our teeth live in? Dark, moist and with regular exercise or is there more that we will never be privy to? The picture of this tooth is so obviously a tooth, unless I stare a little longer and then, I'm not too sure. Maybe that's how each of us is, sure of ourselves and then as we dig deeper, a mere stream of flux that one can never be sure of or know. The one core need we all nest within is to understand and be understood by others. But is that possible?

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