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Curtis, A. (2013). Mandibles. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 7(1):88-89.

(2013). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 7(1):88-89


Abi Curtis

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 thinking head.

Porcelain, amalgam, gold:

offerings to the speech 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)

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Curtis, A. (2013). Mandibles. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 7(1):88-89

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