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Toothache

a poem

By Sam Eliza GreenPublished 12 months ago 2 min read
6
photo by Néo Rioux on Pexels

For months, I had an ache in my jaw. I finally went to the dentist, and they snapped an x-ray. My wisdom tooth had grown in at a ninety degree angle.

It was capsized like the child sleeping on his mother’s lap during Sunday’s early sermon — as long as he didn’t snore, it would be fine.

But this tooth had started making a ruckus. The crown was ramming into the root of the molar next to it. They said it was impacted. They would have to cut it out of my jaw.

I was awake for all of it. The surgeon opened up my gum and de-crowned the obtrusive tooth like a rebellion leader would a tyrant. When he discovered the roots, he wrenched and heaved, but they wouldn’t let go.

“I’ve never seen them like this,” he swore.

They gave me another injection, and for almost an hour, all I could feel was the pressure, the tug-of-war between the surgeon and my ornery roots. When the last was finally free, I understood that, on rare occasions, emptiness can be followed by relief.

I went home, swollen and sore, and sobbed over dribbled water. You asked me if I wanted pizza for dinner.

I had to re-learn how to eat. Even after the stitches dissolved, I was anxious about chewing anything denser than a peach. When I was supposed to be completely healed, there was still a dull pain in my jaw. But I knew this ache was of different origin than the first. It would persist for years.

Leaving you was like getting my wisdom tooth removed.

Some chilly afternoon, I wrote up a list in the car, putting words to long harbored grievances. Like the dentist studying an x-ray of my awkward tooth, I realized you would keep destroying bits and pieces of me until there was nothing left.

I knew exactly how I would dissect you from my life. It had to be careful and calculated. I practiced packing my duffle bag over and over again, donated books I never read, and made amends with all the things we couldn’t get right.

What I never expected, like the surgeon prying on the roots of my tooth, was how much you would fight to hold on.

“You don’t belong without me,” you projected.

It was as if you, like the tooth, knew your only part in our story was being cut out. And it must have been agony because what use is a wisdom tooth anywhere else?

I, the aching mouth, was meant to heal, however slowly. And although I still carry the dull soreness from our severance, in your absence, I finally learned to trust the sensation of something whole again.

heartbreaksurreal poetrysad poetrylove poems
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About the Creator

Sam Eliza Green

Wayward soul, who finds belonging in the eerie and bittersweet. Poetry, short stories, and epics. Stay a while if you're struggling to feel understood. There's a place for you here.

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Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (3)

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  • Test12 months ago

    This is absolutely incredible, so elegantly and eloquently written yet so emotionally raw. I felt every word.

  • This was so heartbreaking yet so beautifully written! Loved the liberating ending!

  • Brenton F12 months ago

    O U C H !

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