allegory deferred by Lynn Kong
Elderly white thread,
teeth and strands of soul:
Grandmother’s hands are crumpled
like youth’s pink silk dress, like
the roof of my mouth when I was
born as a lump of clay, virgin
to bruise and doubt’s edge—
gums bared to verity.
She ties a slender noose—
milky and knitted with exile—
and drapes it around my tooth,
where frailty clasps earth and
rustles somewhat. How is it that I
wish so much to be unscathed?
I clutch at violation, sucking rue
and the dross of parched mirrors.
But I cannot give it up,
that tooth. I am still so infantile.
Someday, when bubonic fragility
melds with grace unmired, there will be
a wonder akin to that graveyard
odyssey wherein all false
selves are discarded like
the teeth of one’s childhood.
Tongue prods void and rests.