It started with my back tooth,
much cheaper to extract wisdom.
Now tongue swirls in dark abyss
around black cavity, nothingness.

I feel unbalanced as I walk
one molar gone, orthodontic
shift in class, the have­-not caste,
one millstone followed by another.

How much grinding bore holes
in enamel, uprooting the bed?
Babies sucked from natal stream
drained the marrow, shriveled the bone.

Frayed blue collar underscores
my lopsided, one­-less­-tooth smile
while white starched collars
curl below rows of faultless teeth.

—Sharon Frye

© 2015, poem, Sharon Frye, All rights reserved

One thought on “Poverty Line

  1. The relationship between dentistry (health care), appearance (missing tooth v. faultless teeth), and class (frayed blue collar v. white starched collars) provide a symbolic allegory for the division between the 1% and the 99%. Nice.


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