by Anastasia Stelse
The potters, my grandmother says, used
to temper clay with crushed femurs pulled
from the bone pit at the edge of town.
It can’t be true, but she slips a blue velvet
pouch from a false-bottom drawer, peeks
in with one eye, whispers, proof,
dumps sixty-some clinking teeth onto the table,
their roots variously chipped and coffee colored.
Her lips set in a thin line cover her dentures,
but these stray teeth are too many to be hers.
They vibrate towards each other, find
no matching set, no tongue. They’re always
trying to chatter on about something or other.
A canine rolls onto my lap. I let it trudge
up my thigh. Lean my head closer. Don’t
encourage them, she says, snatching each up
and into the bag, but they keep talking.