I can bite through a hundred pounds

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

awake, four times that while asleep, or so
the doctors tell me.
                                       At night, my teeth
grind silently, the molars, incisors, canines grate
down to eroding craters or up into rising crags.
While my body mills, files against itself, I dream:
dream of death, mine and not my own, the latter
pressing harder; dream of my husband leaving me,
or I him; of looking at our sleeping bodies
from far above, the teeth inside my mouth,
the one closed below, cracking, falling out, turning
to powder in his fingers, slipping through, bloodless
as flour, and his arms shrink around me to a small boy's,
the son we never got to have.
                                                            Waking
to my husband's back, his hands around a pillow's
belly as though it were a woman's, mine, or another's,
I clutch my shoulders so they too don't break.
Silently, I swallow grains of stone, choke
on four hundred pounds of strain
                                                                     compressed from bone.


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