Mouth Full of Glass

A dry roasted peanut broke the wisdom tooth. Who would have guessed that a cheap snack nonchalantly tossed into my mouth would be the start to years of future pain. The tiny chunk that had been taken out of the bone by a vindictive nut soon grew in size, splintering piece by piece out from my lips with each passing meal. Chips, candy, granola, food that I had never given a second thought prior had now made their way to the center of my attention. Every kernel and crumb lodged within the cracks, digging their way into the tender nerves below, infecting and pulsing with each heartbeat, tears rolling from my eyes with food still moist in my mouth, unable to swallow. I would have ripped the little shit out of the gums myself, but money had always been an issue.

The second time that it happened it was a toasted onion bagel, all while trying to enjoy an average Saturday morning breakfast. Without even a warning shot, the crispy bread sheered a bicuspid clean in half. An audible snap shook my jaw, like cracking open a fresh peapod. Surprisingly enough the break was so clean that it came out completely intact. There was no initial pain. However, the fact that the tooth was positioned so close to the front of my mouth ran waves of anxiety throughout my body. ‘How the fuck am I going to smile now?’ I thought. I rolled it around in the palm of my hand. It was hollowed out by rot, so the chance of saving it was beyond slim. Nonetheless, I placed the tooth within an empty Lexapro bottle; perhaps I believed there was a way to put it back in my head, or maybe I just wanted to hold on to the experiences that resided in the tooth itself. It’s hard to say.

Bite Your Tongue 2
Matthew Dangler, Bite Your Tongue; wood, toolbox liner, expanding foam, acrylic, clear coat. 2018.