At thirty, I wonder
for the first time where

my childhood went; why I didn’t
for the longest time have words
to describe things done

surreptitiously to me: yet I
am good at summaries and speed

reading; also I know how to gut
and butterfly a fish. I look
sometimes in the mirror above

the bathroom sink to run the tip
of my index finger under my lip,

feeling for the ridge on the gum
where the shard from an old tooth
once sat, rootless, gathering

stench. Of this, I am not afraid:
at night before bed, fingers dig

to loosen the sliver from
its sheath, until one day it
gives up and the mouth floods

with a vinegar taste. That seems
so long ago. Now, past fifty, I want

only to walk lightly on all the powdered
snow while yellow lights come on: first
one side of the street, then the other.


In response to Via Negativa: Balancing act.

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