Mary Morris has been invited to read at the Library of Congress and consequently NPR. Her work is published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Columbia Review, and New Letters. She received the Rita Dove Award and the Discovery Award of New Mexico. Her book, “Enter Water, Swimmer” will be published in Spring 2018 by Texas Review Press (TAMU University Consortium). She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This year my mother has swallowed teeth
in her sleep, wakes with new sensations—
smooth, empty sockets in place of molars, incisors.
She frowns in the mirror, says, pumpkin face.
But this afternoon she has had the rest
of her teeth pulled, and really does look old,
lips drawn in like an illustration of a crone
in a book of fairytales, an old woman
her grandchildren adore.
‘Crone,’ associated with magical,
deduced into malicious, hag,
cantankerous from carrion,
raised to powerful, wise, heroine.
When I was six, I hid my first tooth
under the pillow and waited all afternoon
outside the closed door.
I wanted to see her, thought I heard
the rustle of her fairy dress.
When I opened the door, discovered
that small incisor, not taken yet .
My mother says, you know the person
who brings the uterus on Sunday?
Ma, they took your uterus.
Nearly five decades ago,
following ten acts of childbirth,
a surgeon closed her womb.
No more bodies coming through her.
No more bearing down.
Honey, you know, what is it called?
My mother, victor of crosswords
is deeply concerned, her head bent
over her chest as she searches
for the word on the shelves
of her temporal lobe.
Ahh, Eucharist, I say.
Yes. And she thanks me,
her interpreter in the country
her guide through the nation