My teeth are falling out
again and as I spit chunks of bone
into my hands my mother and sister laugh at me and swing
a trough of sludge over my head like a jump rope.
Dripping in this chewed tobacco, I know that laughter, heard it
when I bought a pair of yellow sneakers, cut my hamburger in half, revealed
my fear of antiques, announced plans to move to New Mexico
where the Hopi had trouble with their teeth too–stone bowls ground their bones
down to the tender nerve and the only drug, I try to tell these women,
the only ease was a black desert chasm
open and accepting their bodies, their bleeding gums.
Christa Setteducati’s poetry has been published in Many Mountains Moving. She teaches composition at Montclair State University.