Gaps By Noriko Nakada


Your baby teeth
and the baby teeth of all ten
of your siblings were not
included in what
you could carry

when stripped down
to two bags each.
Books and photographs
letters and childhood treasures
were also left behind.

Top teeth were buried in fields
became city streets
(for the older boys)
became suburban wastelands
(for the younger kids).

Bottom teeth were tossed
onto rooftops, shards of bone
bleached by the sun
may still linger on
somewhere above 39th Street.

Long after tongues
and tiny fingers worried and pried
where blood trickled
until tooth wriggled loose
part pain, part magic

and new teeth grew in.
So by the time you left
people barely remembered
the phantom spaces
a family left behind.

By Noriko Nakada


Noriko Nakada writes, blogs, tweets, parents, and teaches middle school in Los Angeles. She is committed to writing thought-provoking creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

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