A Tale about Teeth and Death

by | Mar 1, 2017 | Poetry

These teeth are sharp
Made of stone and wire

The first men used them
To kill the first women

Sorrow then descended
Like sundown
On the sweet world

Wisdom became

Humor became the lies
We tell our mothers

Killing made
The killing men lighter

Feathers in the hands
Of their friends

Killing made
The dying women heavier

A chain of words in the hands
Of their friends

This is what the words
Of the dying women said:

Tell them
We have met

On the plains
Of summer

And left there
What we loved best

The smiling babies
The full wooden bowls.


Photo used under CC.

Listen to this poem:

About The Author

John Guzlowski

John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, Salon.Com, Atlanta Review, and many other print and online journals here and abroad.  His poems and personal essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his prose and poetry memoir, Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). Road of Bones, his novel about two German lovers separated by war, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.  Of Guzlowski’s writing, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz said, “He has an astonishing ability for grasping reality.”