Remember that night, my love, when
your teeth fell out, one by one,
your yellowed pearls patting the carpet like rain
and you let them lie,
hardly looking.

I swept them away.

The first day it seemed amusing,
a joke to tell the office about.
‘Lo!—what misfortune you had!’
It could only have happened to you
(or potentially your dad, he’s very like you)
but by the second day it seemed
less spry. Your eye-teeth were gone
and you could only gouge morsels
from marshmallows and curly fries.

By day five you were gummy, old; lips
flayed back over moony-boned sockets.
You couldn’t keep your tongue inside,
it lolled and looked at me with
curious eyes.
Your grin was outrageous, horrendous,
and then your own eyes were gone,
rolled back under those widening lips, fat rubber tides;
as your tongue—a skullcapped slug—protruded
from within, smoothly slipping
from your thin discarded skin.

I turned away from you, ran like mad.
I’m afraid you’re still entombed there,
inside the slug, drugged,
or maybe you’ve been a beast all this time
and the growing old together
has revealed illusory skin turned loose; falling away
like dampened paper.

The mirror shows my own skin, thinned
through the years like Miss Havisham’s veil.
Under fingers, I am dried and clotted mud,
mouth resolutely closed, tongue touching gums.