Teeth Three Inches From NowDonald Illich
“Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?” Plato, Dialogues, Phaedo I’m a toddler. I wait for teeth to come in. It seems like forever. I want to accidentally bite mom’s breasts. Chewing food is much better than sucking stewed peas down. Three inches from now, as measured by life’s ruler, I’ll leap onto the yardstick of failure. The bursting of gums for little nubs that’ll soon fall out at six. Let them be permanent. Stop time from erupting like a volcano. Don’t wish to meet the “Tooth Fairy.” A quarter’s not enough to hush me. I’ll nip at your fingers when you try to put me to sleep. The womb. That’s where it all went wrong, when I departed that anteroom for pain and teething. A plastic ring, drops of alcohol in my bottle, a cramped crib, will not quiet me for long. Soon enough I’ll walk around with a stupefied look on my face. Not because everything’s beautiful. I’m stunned by breathing. It treacherously slows down when dad holds me, says, I’m here, don’t be scared, I’ll always be around for you. Don’t you know all this is a horror, that this is my nightmare?
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