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THE BROKEN TEETH DIARIES by Joe Bielecki

We used to be in a mouth but were evicted by a fist in the winter outside of a bar by a bouncer. We weren’t unhappy in our home, but we didn’t mind being free from being drowned in alcohol and choked by smoke every day. The snow was cool. We hibernated like little white bears.

We mingled with razor sharp salt that was used to tear through the ice that the snow was packed down to create. Our enamel was scraped away slowly. Small cracks formed and were filled with melted snow that froze in the night and expanded and widened the cracks so that more water could fill them so that they could widen more so that more water could fill them.

We were not shaped like teeth when spring came. More just little white pebbles mixed in with the gravel. Listening to the sounds of downtown. Spreading far and wide under the feet of passersby.

We were joined or joined other teeth. Fallen from homeless or babies. There was no difference here on the ground. We formed a network. All the pieces forgot the mouth that they came from. The old home means nothing to the mindful. We formed a hivemind. Mapping the city. The downtown, the outskirts, the metro area, every nook and cranny and dark alley and sewer drain.

The summer was a young woman screaming FUCK YOU into her phone over and over. Whoever she is talking to only getting milliseconds to respond or make their case. We would like to comfort her. To smother her insides with chocolate or potato chips. To filter vodka down her throat.

We are the ones who devour the food dropped by spoiled children and full bachelors. We still do our best to perform our function. We have one job.

In the fall we watched as the city destroyed people. Businesses crippled working men with exhaustion and bitterness. Hospitals turned sick kids into drug addicted teens. Crippled and bitter men turned wives into mistresses and children into bartering chips. We are the gravel under bare feet cutting into toes overhanging flip flops and sandals. Scuffing shiny shoes.

We have just become rocks in a tumbler. Doing our small part to do whatever it is that we actually have to do. We have seen the grand scope but not the big picture. But we have no desire to. Too much figuring makes us dizzy. Grinding us into dust and blowing us into the eye of a small child staring at the buildings towering above her.

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