(2013). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7(1):88-89
The archaeologists have been in the office again.
You've come to work through the night when
you find their shoe-boxes shelved with the books,
then face the other way, try to write, to look
at the dark-glazed view into the quad.
You turn around, fingering the lip of a box.
Nobody said, Don't Touch. This one's labelled
‘Mandibles’. As you slide the lid, a smell
of dried mouths and subtle rot.
Each piece of jaw in a plastic pocket
you can feel through to the nubs of bone,
unable to identify symphysis, molar, canine.
You recall Mr Fozard pulling a tooth
to leave a hole for your tongue to search, a taste
of pink, of omnivore. Bridges, dentures,
ivory tusks cross-sectioned
like the rings of an oak;
pulp canals, the roots that bind your mouth
to your head.
Porcelain, amalgam, gold:
offerings to the of the soul.
But here, in this box, the bones are small,
herbivorous. At last you see animals,
re-skinned and furred, decay reversed,
their skulls re-clothed:
deer stripping red fruit from the hedge-row,
rabbits, light-headed and wet-eyed,
clipping the green from the fields.
Mandibles is from Unexpected Weather (Salt, 2009)