Death’s Love-Bite

Ruth Fainlight

A slow-motion explosion is what my mouth’s become,
front teeth thrusting forward at impossible angles.
Incisors once in satisfactory alignment
cruelly slice through lips and tongue, and molars grind
each other into powder. Though it took almost thirty
years for them to drift so far apart, the pace
accelerates. My mouth contains meteors
and molecules, the splintered bones of mastodons,
galaxies and Magellanic clouds; feels like
a photograph of particles halted in
a cyclotron and magnified a thousand powers,
a microscopic re-enactment of the planet’s
coming total fracture, elements dispersing
out in space. That’s the truth I clench between
my jaws, behind my face. And all the technical
ingenuity called upon to solve
this dental problem won’t heal Death’s love-bite.