On Teeth

Teeth are the feet of the mouth. Overlooked and unloved, they crunch through rough vegetal underbrush and wade knee-deep through vast morasses of meat. Teeth are remorseless, durable, cruel. They can grind, gnash, or bite through almost anything given long enough to chew. Yet we tend to ignore them, unless they cause us pain. Who notices their feet unless there is a stone in their shoe? At other times, we just brush them off, childishly thinking that if lost they will grow back again. But that’s not true. Missing teeth leave holes in everything we do. Without feet in our mouths, we couldn’t even eat our words.

A version of this abbreviated essay appears in the December issue of Ode.