Poem #16 Beauty

posted November 19, 2018


I want always to be useful.
But today, I spent thousands of dollars on a mission to straighten my teeth
Which provides no use at all.
The teeth work fine, architecturally.
They are even quite pretty, according to my dentist and my husband.

The bottom left front
Hides behind her neighbor
Like a shy child behind her mother’s leg.
This will grow worse over time,
I am told. I imagine
The left half of my mouth
Migrating all the way across my tongue
To the right side
Tectonic plates moving towards
Instead of away. Reverse Pangaea.

Until recently,
I was OK with the crooked:
So like a maple branch, so like a river.

Why spend money on beauty?
I think this, even as I gaze out
On the newfallen snow
Melting already on the new blue barn
In the backyard
A barn formed of solid dreams
Oak and pine and maple
Stone and red balau
Homasote and granite
A copper owl to announce the weather.

A year ago
We tore down the old garage along with the junk trees,
We tossed out the dead Christmas tree carcasses
along with the one flowering cherry
I wept when the trucks left
Consoled only by the one tree left standing:
Red maple with a Y shape to it.
Yes to all of this.

My mouth was assaulted
By cameras and fingers
And insulted by the suggestion
That I brush after lunch.
A private place, the mouth.

The barn rose
Over the year
Useful, blue, inspirational, beautiful.

And one day, it will be torn down
Like the old garage.

I have a notion
That after the work is done,
Something besides my teeth will be straightened out once and for all.

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