In my dreams, my teeth commonly crack
and fall out of my mouth. When my gums
give way, there is a soft crumbling, a gritty feeling
as I spit pieces of myself onto the sidewalk.

When awake, I remove my teeth more patiently,
through the action of cigarettes and coffee. Sitting down,
I absently run my tongue against the roof of my mouth,
over small burns and dry skin. I can taste my own spit.

In my dreams, I am usually in the process of walking away.
I pass people I do not recognize nor do they see me–
a walk through Ferlinghetti’s stupor of the mind. My hands
are yellow now. They stink. I know this will kill me, this half living.

I go back to my room, blub-lit, anxious. I apply topical creams
to my face and eyes, clean out the daylight and soot
behind my ears. I reluctantly brush my teeth. Eventually,
I’ll climb back into bed, tucked in for another pale year.


Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Jonathan Andrews

Jonathan Andrews has written for BOMB Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. He lives in Boston.