She carved up people’s teeth all day
with hooks like the hands of pirates,
and there was always someone waiting
there to blame all they neglected
on a basic lack of knowing what to do.
So she explained to them how to live
a clean life and keep those frequent
bites forever painless. This was why
they hated her, and hated where they were,
it was because it was her job to tell the truth.
When she was a kid she used to have
nightmares about a sewer grate
that was on a street near her house
because of the endless possibilities
of what could be down there.
When she would try to fall asleep
she could only see the monstrosities
that would pry the heavy lid free
and leave a trail of slime from there
right to her door.
She wasn’t a child anymore and that
is what she did this for. To break the people
free of all the lying that they tolerate from themselves.
The gums below her light were bleeding
far too much for what was normal
and she could tell that they were left out
in the yard. She scraped them mercilessly hard
and through the proper work of pain
they both learned what they needed from each other.