Shark’s Tooth

This entry is part 5 of 34 in the series Small World


From what tacky tourist trap did it come,
that keepsake, that ocean’s arrowhead?
I think my grandparents brought it back
from their one & only Carribean cruise.
It rode around in my pocket for a while,
a talisman luckier than a rabbit’s foot
or a saint’s ear. It was not much bigger
than a mole’s snout, but sharp, so sharp.
I imagined serried ranks, sierras,
& the circling fin, evil twin of the sail.
It was—I recall—a kind of off-brown,
the color of moldy leather or dried blood,
but shiny enough to serve as a mirror
for something not quite my reflection
but sharper than a shadow.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. “Shark’s Tooth” immediately brought to mind Conn and Hal Iggulden’s “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and also memories of my brothers and I exploring cow pastures and aligator-infested ponds and swinging on Tarzan vines when we were kids in central Florida. A talisman in one’s pocket can feel like the North star when you’re a kid.


    1. Yes, well put. Haven’t read that book, but your childhood doesn’t sound too different from mine (except for the alligator part).


  2. Good poem, Dave! I like how you bracketed the reminiscing body of the poem with two solid and evocative images.


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