While You Were Sleeping

He began by holding back your lips with hooks,
As if he’d caught himself a fleshy fish.
Next came the scraping.  Your molars stood, pale rooks,

Solemn.  He peeled away the tender flesh
Like a grapefruit, like layers of sediment, like pages
In a bleeding book until he reached the fresh

Shine of an aching bone.  He stroked the edge
Of wisdom with his drill.  An eerie whine
Prickled in his ears, and the tooth disengaged.

He grasped the pliers as you lay still and blind
And plucked the enameled flower, root and all,
Leaving behind a mottled, bloodied rind.

A breeze blew through cracked windows.  On the wall,
The X-rays quivered.  The vacuum hissed
As he cleaned the wound of blood and spit and spall.

Then he sewed you up with deft flicks of his wrist.
The anesthesia loosed you from its mist,
And you woke up remembering none of this.

— Chandler Batchelor

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