Jennifer Schomburg Kanke
Some Good Tooth
Granny, hers were pulled by fifty.
Dead or dying, broken, swollen.
Dentures bathes each night at bedside,
soaked in cups of Scope or Listerine.
Polident expensive, fancy.
Mom would hide her holes with fingers
placed strategically in front.
Masking poverty with shyness.
Covered laughs and stilted smiles,
habit even after implants.
I will need a root canal soon,
maybe two. Much better than I’d
figured. I’d expected he’d say
“Nothing’s worth our saving here,”
but instead he went “You’ve got some
good tooth here, decay is deep though.”
He attributes it to my home care.
My generic mouthwash poured into
Listerine bottles, my obsessive flossing,
twenty-dollar nightguard from Publix.
All those things I do that don’t quite
make up for the past.
Maple Street on My Mind
The smell of mold and benzene comforts me,
but does not bring you to me, not really.
There is no trauma with you, so I leave you
in the past though you are
the one person I want to relive.
When I sit with the memory
of talking before turning in
small gossips of your past,
making the next day’s grocery list,
I cannot smell Listerine or feel your rayon night dress.
My mind understands that you are not here,
you are a story I repeat to myself,
an impression of crickets on an August night
that I can’t turn the sound up on,
can’t bring into this room with me now,
no matter how hard I try.
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, originally from Columbus, Ohio, lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she edits confidential documents for the government. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, and Pleiades. Her chapbook, Fine, Considering, about her experiences undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, is available from Rinky Dink Press. She is a reader for Emrys and serves on the board of directors for Anhinga Press.