For Lack of What Is Found

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Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, 2014 ▪ Finalist

Eric Berlin

For Lack of What Is Found


      I am not convinced by the cartoon tooth
      that hangs above the dentist’s office door—
      those wide glassy eyes, the bowlegged roots,
      that gloved hand brandishing the brush, with a small
      forced smile of its own like each tooth has teeth,
      and those teeth have teeth—all bared for the love
      of the sharp-edged tools that scour them clean.
      I fell for the warmth of that smile once.

      I have no sign except this blinding bulb
      above my mattress, pelted by these moths
      whose minor deaths cast shadows on my walls.
      They sputter as they burn to paper pulp.
      They celebrate one filament of light
      as if they’d stumbled on the sun at night.