A Little Tooth
By Thomas Lux
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone. It's all
over: she'll learn some words, she'll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail. And you,
your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
nothing. You did, you loved, your feet
are sore. It's dusk. Your daughter's tall.
My son's poetry teacher handed out this poem on curriculum night and I fell in love with it. But I also laughed out loud reading the title, because I have been having nightmares about losing my teeth and thought a poem about teeth was kind of an eerie coincidence. I told the teacher how much I liked it because it described so succinctly, the passage of time and a child growing up - so appropriate to be handing out to the parents of seniors on their way to graduation and college. Wow! The power of words to convey meaning and emotion. It is why I blog and read as much as I can. And it is why I am trying to "talk" less and listen more.
I am struck by the beauty of poetry as an art form - I've kind of lost sight of that in recent years. How many of us really read much after we are out of school? I am inspired to try and read more poetry and fill my life with more art and beauty.
I love the description here, "flyblown," although the definition means tainted or spoiled. Also, the the words "rue nothing," or having no regrets.
Poems speak to us because we can identify with the words and connect to their meaning. Maybe this poem speaks to me so strongly because of the last two lines. If I change the "you" to "I," I can certainly say that I too, rue nothing and that I did, I loved, and my feet are sore, in fact very, very sore right now.