Cutting Teeth

Hands to keys

Fingers to screen

Pen to page

Mouth to mic

Any way you can

Get your words out.

Left inside the pink folds

They eventually die out

Or change with time and life

Worn smooth like lake rocks

Their unique sharp edges muted.

These words have teeth

But if not cared for

They will rot

They will grow holes

Be rendered useless

They will be lost.

Let them be written

Tapped out

Listened to


Some days your hand,

Gripping your pen

Will hover over the ominous blank page

Puzzling over what might be worth the ink

But it’s all worth something

To someone.

Like the fleeing majesty of Fall

That I take for granted

Not everyone knows how

These green landscapes

Transform themselves to rainbows

Or the way the carefully planted corn stalks ripple beside you

As you fly down sleepy county roads

Or the lovely sound of rain

Against the treetops.

These words are soft

They taste like warm apple cider

A sour cream donut on the side.

They feel like a dog sleeping on your feet

A warm hand on the back of my neck.

They sound like

A content sigh

A cat purring

The heat flowing up through the vent.

These words I let roll around my brain

For days

I taste them on my tongue for a while

Like butterscotch hard candy.

These words smell like

Her perfume

His pipe tobacco


They are soft words

But they have my pen flowing across this page.

They have me started.

Baby food.

The teeth are there

I just need to learn to use them, again.

Sharpen them.

If I don’t write

I can’t call myself

A writer.

And if I’m not a writer

What am I?


A mother

A daughter

A sister

A lover

A friend

Worker bee


But if you don’t do

The only thing

You’ve really wanted to do

Since you were first handed a crayon

And gripped it hard

Pushing it against the ring finger

Of your right hand

Until you wore that spot hard and smooth

(The way you still grip your pen,

The way I’m gripping it right now)

And laying down meaningless scribbles

With lots of loops and tails,

If you don’t write

You’re a fraud.

You’re cheating yourself

You’re pretending you’re someone else.

Hands to keys

Fingers to screen

Pen to page

Mouth to mic

Any way you can

Get your words out.