The root canal was so wide
    a gondolier could have rowed us right through it

    Docking at the swollen, bleeding gums
    the product of decades of neglect

    Although it was a prune pit that broke the tooth open,
    the weakness had been there all along

    You would dust off popcorn husks, shreds of chicken,
    identifying traces of meals long digested

    As I scoured fissures in the enamel,
    unable to gauge their depths

    You would break off samples of the molar
    with hammer and chisel

    And put them in my satchel
    before you scaled the side

    But I would fear to lean against the tooth,
    for if it crumbled I would surely fall


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