• Galen Warden


Impossibly foreign, the first time

The cave opens only slightly for me and

I close my eyes to feel more keenly with Helen Keller’s love.

Each tooth weeps neglect at my unskilled attempts

To find them—every single one—with the softly bristled brush.

He insists I floss. I cringe, then panic.

I’m a schoolgirl giving a presentation

On a paper I haven’t finished, on a topic I don’t understand.

I hesitate, falter, disappoint.

The teacher is watching; will he pounce?

Or let me flounder in the dark? I attempt, then surrender

To the inevitability of my failure.

Put down the floss.

Only a little blood.

Try not to sigh too loudly.

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