the lineage of rotting teeth

i come from the lineage of rotting teeth-
(the cavity capacity divine and endless in my head.)

i baptize my back molars with water until they ache-
bathed then numbed in longing.

my teeth feel the exposed opening hollowed out
and abandoned.

i memorize the empty spaces with my tongue.

my mother,

with a pace has suffered
for years, feeling the pinch
of raw nerve-endings throb
in his side-brain.

this is the only wealth my relation holds-
the acknowledgment of absence.

when our pale ivory castles split in halves our blood line pulses for extraction,
life-line resurrection resurfaced through chipped canines.

About the Author

Stephanie Hempel is an MFA candidate at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her work has been published in “Saudade Magazine” and was selected as the winner of the “Ambramelin” Poetry Contest in 2016. She is the author of the upcoming collection “Chaotic Metaphor.”