William Atkins

Tooth’s First Dance

There’s the ledge.

It seems that Tooth has been poking out his head from many angles here.
He’s about ready. The music isn’t right though. It’s too tame and slow, like            dinner jazz.
How is anybody meant to swing? Do they know this??

Tooth has had his eye on those trousers, on that top.
There’s an unsure smile above it, like a timid dog that approaches hand            for the first time.
Waits for tongue to complete the sunset that was so clouded over before that            no dreams
                        mattered.

Tooth thinks it’s funny how so little changes.

A slow song… good. Maybe the chance.
Tooth yearns for throbbing vein, he aches for skin.
He’s quiet though. He waits, he watches with
kingfisher stealth.

Maybe one day he’ll find a partner or magician to change
the way he thinks. That’s what Tooth hopes.
Tooth can’t change though.

He’s a sharp wit and harsh critic.
A kind soul, misunderstood.
Strange-hearted.
That’s what Tooth thinks.

He sees Lip and asks for a dance. Lip dances better than Tooth.
Tooth, however, uses one half of his wit to cut through Lip’s dress and
another to cut through her skin.
Tooth sees Lip in rags.

The whole room is in an uproar, every molecule,
a vocal cord.
An echo round a mouth in distraught confusion.

Red is on the floor, all around Lip who lies in shock,
an island in the Red Sea.
Anyone there who is Eye or is Lid is close to drowning.

Tooth is back at the ledge with a glass of wine, now.
He turns red.
No one points the finger though. Tooth was Tooth
and Lip was Lip and that was it,

and the music just wasn’t right for a night
like this.

Purple Tooth

Once Tooth had worked through each mineral,
splitting atom and ant from ant and posterior,
he saw the earthworm and split that in two, too.

He poisoned the dirt for its comrades to eat and
split the grass in half to deafen them.
Some wretched torture that was.

Tooth snapped veins and arteries from spiders’ webs and
wove blankets for them to cover the pain with because,
boy, it was getting cold ‘round then.

He cut the wire on the stove so that families would starve
If they didn’t get with the old ways.
Things were so much simpler those days…

Tooth thinks of his Gother sometimes and cries
but no one sees. Not the bees, not the birds nor the flies.
It wasn’t easy since they fell apart.

But milk teeth always were a pain.

Tooth saw the baby in its pram, stifled a tear. He angered.
He started to charge with a spear on his head but a voice
stopped him, saying

“Not today, Sonny Jim…
It’s nowhere NEAR harvest time.
Don’t cut off a smile just to scar it.”

So Tooth dug his root into the earth, and
soaked back up his poison to use for another time,
hoping it was a good year to barrel age.

Author Portrait

William Atkins is 26 years old and lives in London. He has been writing poetry for about three years now and aims only to better his work. He cares a lot for truth, its beauty and occasional surrealism, especially in nature. Having grown up in rural Gloucestershire and the Kent—East Sussex border, he loves nature, the world of animals and humankind’s relationship to them. He is a keen lover of all art in its many different forms, but only if it is genuine.