All evening my tongue
a manic magician in a submerged metal trunk
My novice contortionist tongue
fixated on the gum’s
thin as bakery string, thick as old rope mooring.
They dissolve, the dentist said, without
but my jittery tongue has no buds for patience,
can’t savor suspense.
Waking this morning
only sleep is stuck to my teeth
scraggly fibers, whole carefully drawn stitches
dislodged and gone.
The magician’s second secret—
where did it go.
Art by Daniel Toby Gonzalez
Denise Bergman’s, THREE HANDS NONE was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2019. She was the editor of City River of Voices, an anthology of urban poetry (West End Press), and author of Keyhole Poems, a sequence that combines the history of specific urban places with the present. THE SHAPE OF THE KEYHOLE will be published by Black Lawrence Press in December 2020.