Uncle John Drops His Teeth

ann-sullivan-girl-in-boat.jpgUncle John Drops His Teeth

I dropped m’ teef.”
His lips formed sloppy
where his frown had been.
We shared mutual dislike…
me…a ten year girl-kid
John…seventies ancient…
burdened with each other
that August afternoon.

John…take her clammin’.”
Heat peevish…all of us.
So while the moms and pops lazed
sipping dry martinis on his sailboat,
Uncle John and I sloshed in tidal water
glum, sunburned…mosquito welted.

His lips flopped…”Hep me fine ‘em.”
I searched with my toes…
imagined joke store dentures.
Wind up at the hinge…they chatter.

My toes touched them. “Uncle John!”
He submerged…lost his hat…
rose with his pearly whites.
Clamped them to his mouth.
A wave swelled behind him.
We staggered…fell…hollered…
splashed hysterical with laughter.

“What’ll we do now?”
I followed him all that week.
We clammed…crabbed…fished…
chipped flaking paint.
He took me sailing.
Let me take the Nereid’s wheel.
Let me steer her in cool breezes…
burdens lifted.

Bonnie Marshall

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