By Mark Russell

My teeth are not my own.
They have been replaced
With someone else’s teeth.

Changed shape.
Changed texture.
Fused together.

Where there was
Only stiff rigidity.

Bone jutted in gum like headstones in dirt.

These teeth try their best 
To pretend they’re mine, 
But give themselves away 
Through resonant tension 
Or involuntary chatter.

Communicating with each other in Morse code.

Tap tap tap.

It seems these false teeth conspire against the rest of my body.

When it purges negativity,
They quietly latch onto 
Mouthfuls of emotion, 
Holding them hostage 
Until fit to burst,
To explode,

Each tooth a dozen shards,
Impaling my mouth.
Puncturing my gums.
Severing my uvula.

Clogging my throat until I’m
Choking on chipped bone 
And drowning in blood.

Sometimes at night I can feel my 
Uninvited mouthguests flothering to escape.

Jailbreak from the jawed prison.

I wonder; if they managed to 
Wrench free from my gums, 
Would they take the rest of 
My skull with them?

Maybe they are my teeth after all, 
But my skeleton itself wishes 
To be free from me, 
To give up on me, 
To abandon me to myself, 
Same as the rest.

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