my rebel tooth

the insurrection is

happening in my mouth.

a sleeper cell has


he has brought with him

a dirty bomb of

bacteria, infection, swelling,

and agony.

i might have expected this

from an incisor.

they can’t get enough of

the spotlight.

or maybe even

a molar;

those brainless chomping


god knows they get

the worst of the action.

but i’ve been betrayed

by a wisdom tooth.

i should have known.

they were all

late to the party,

and and no one else

seems to need them.

an advisor told me

this could happen.

i’m losing control of my


until official proceedings

can deal with this


he will keep poisoning

my ranks.

the sooner he’s gone,

the better.

he’s a dangerous nuisance, and

i can’t have a wisdom tooth

making me look like

a damn fool.



the day begins

with rockets.


streaks of smoke

and fire lance

the sky.

rockets and ufos

on every channel.

internet rumors.

“we’re being invaded!”

“it’s the military!”

reporters say,

“no word yet on

where these ships

came from, who

is on them, or

where they’re headed.”

another crop of rockets

lift off and fire towards space.

“it does appear

that they’re all leaving

earth’s atmosphere.”

sweat beads on

the brows of the viewers.

someone says,

“they’re leaving.”

the reporter,

“we’re still waiting

for a statement from

the white house.

we’re working

to determine the

president’s whereabouts.”

“that reporter still don’t

wear a mask,”

says a viewer from

behind a mask.

“they’re leaving.”

“let ’em go.”

“i’m fine that they going,

i just don’t like

how they left the place.”

the rockets

stop leaving.

everyone wears their masks

and watch

to see what

will happen next.

mom and i on christmas

the train was empty

but for mom and i.

i leaned against her.

mom closed her eyes.


we rode in silence.

neither saying a thing

about the christmas season,

or what santa brings.


my mom was all i had.

i had no toys or friends.

our home was hidden

where the traintrack ends.


the train passed lights–

red, white and green.

the train passed homes

with christmas trees.


i wished there’d be

a christmas tree

for mom and me.


the train’s power flickered.

mom sat upright.

i said, ‘we’re ok, mom.

it’s just the lights.’


she held me close,

i nestled closer still.

i felt warm tears

begin to spill.


my jeans were wet,

my shoes had holes.

my hair was dirty,

i was awful cold.


then the train

began to slow.

when we got to the end,

it would be time to go.


an old man climbed on,

he was a well-dressed guy.

he wore a grey suit,

and a bright red tie.


he sat down alone,

he also looked tired.

he carried large bags,

that i coyly admired.


there was a coat in one,

a small tree in another.

he smiled at me.

i looked at my mother.


“merry christmas, young man,”

said the old man to me.

“i’m proud to see

you have the gift of love

in your family.”


i remembered his face

from pictures i’d seen,

when he vanished

from the place he had been.


he’d left his bags,

with tags,

for mom and i.


*note: this story is a contest entry for susanna leonard hill’s 7th annual holiday contest. holiday-contest. thanks to jilanne hoffman for the heads up on the contest.