A dental technician rips up a postcard of dental puns
Have you known the suffering wrought by damaged mouths? Or the solemn joy of healing? Have you reckoned with the uses of dental records?
Think through the murdered and the long dead; think of things unspeakable and unspoken.
This very morning I crafted a perfect palatal obturator and pictured its recipient’s first bite of apple, her first easy breath, and long-captive words leaping from her, exuberant and vital.
And must I now come home to this?
I hear better educated versions of these day after day after day.
I’ve snapped braces, I’ve shed blood and had the stupidest of stupid arguments with that attractive new nurse. And the sneers of ‘real medics’. And that parking ticket! They don’t give them to those superior beings crowned with their flashy lights.
You abscess pits! You subhumandibles! I’ll denture pride, I’ll rearrange your morals. Gum on, brace yourself for the unpalatable tooth. You’re prosthetic, mere enamels, a dentin society, gutta snipes, the apex of canality, base brutins with nothing incisor your heads!
Why must the digniteeth of man be uprooted bicuspidiots like you filling the world with such pulp and decavity?
But, forgive me,
I’m putting words in your mouth.
Or, words between your teeth.
No, no, this is it, this is what I’m trying to do: put teeth in your words.
Incidentally, do you play bridge?
John Newton Webb is the author of a number of plays and has had poetry published in a variety of magazines. He currently lives in Sapporo, Japan. You can read some of his work and occasional mini-essays on modern Japanese poetry at johnnewtonwebb.blogspot.com