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.