fire season (october)
I remember walking down the street with stuffed animals in my arms. Margo had invited me over for a tea party. Her family lived in the cul-de-sac, just a couple minutes’ walk. My mom let me go alone but before I left, she strapped a too-big mask over my six-year-old face, the kind that construction workers wear to keep dust out of their lungs. Ash was drifting from the sky. A light dusting powdered the asphalt, and lives in the corners of my windowsill even still. My skin grew hot and dry. The leaves were crunchy; burnt crisp, not fall crisp.
Did you know shark teeth aren’t attached by a root? This is why they lose so many. On average, at least one a week, and a tooth lost will be replaced by the next day. Their teeth are naturally cavity-resistant. They grow covered in fluoride. For these reasons, sharks don’t need dentists.
Sharks might need dermatologists. Their skin is made of teeth, you know. Dermal denticles, to be specific. These are similar to scales, but made up of enamel. Dermal denticles grow layered, so that if you ever were to pet a shark it would feel smooth in one direction, but rough in the other. Dermal denticles decrease drag and allow sharks to move quickly and quietly through the water. Humans have tried to replicate this in high-tech swimsuits.
Sharks are also the most electrically sensitive animals we know of on this earth. They can sense the trembling of the ocean floor, just like stingrays and sea snakes and swimmers. They can sense electric fields, including mine, as I sink into the tank at the aquarium where I work, because I miss the ocean I grew up on. They swerve out of my way with their big sharp smiles, and I collect their teeth off the sandy floor, scrub the acrylic windows, and think about my childhood orthodontist.
speaking of teeth
press against/into/on top of/around
me, you, all these preposition words
prepositions are used to “express
spatial or temporal relations”
like our relations, they exist
in/on/under my tongue and your teeth
9pm on a wednesday
i am pulling off my shirt,
i am tightening my fist in the chain of your necklace,
i am thinking of all the things you’ve ever said to me,
or i am thinking nothing, wishing for nothing.
it’s not that I wish for nothingness,
just that there’s nothing i want to wish for
right now, everything is here.
What I’m Made Of
Here’s what I’m made of: my mother’s love and my grandfather’s storytelling. ghosts and gulls and great big gulps of fresh air. tasty treats. several alphabets. airplane peanuts, and apples, and seaglass. sand, lots of it, especially in my hair. i’m also made of hair, because i love my hair, and work hard to keep it nice and shiny. i’m made of water and dance moves and music. i’m made of misfiring neurons and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, too.