Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Sunday Poet: Michael Todd Steffen

Michael Todd Steffen is the director of the Hastings Room Reading Series in Cambridge, Mass..  His latest book of poetry is Partner, Orchard and Day Moon that was published by Cervena Barva Press. His poems and articles have been published in many literary reviews in the United States and abroad. He has spent ten years living and teaching in France and England, an experience that has enriched his creativity. He was awarded the Somerville News Writers’ Festival Poetry prize.

The Dentist

with his little extended
circle of a mirror
reached into your darkness,

with his fine sharp metal hook
mining for resistance—and decay.
As if the x-ray hadn’t shown him.

Who puts their fingers
in your mouth?—a layer of us
wonders, reclined in his uneasy chair,

with his concentration
of a chess player to situate
or remove, drill, crown…

Under the angelic vanity:
my jaw spiked with reminders
of the original skull, our dust

whose agony won’t outlast
though bites down to measure
now—ow!—invention of

the moment and its isolating
pain in the more probable
rib” of Adam God removed

like a lisp
of self-cultivated shrapnel,
that we be recognizable

among peers
with enough missing from our smile