‘Flipper’ by Cheryl Snell


The mouth carries what she needs with her. She is both the inside and the outside of her own organ. The tongue, guarded by teeth, lolls at the center of the cavern. It flips and falls according to the whims of the web of muscles supporting it. Most of the time it is distracted by its taste buds, but when bored, it will poke at the teeth like a child picking on a sibling. (Mom, she’s touching me!)

One day a tooth, weary of the pushing and probing, falls out and lands on the floor of the mouth.  For a moment it believes it will escape to freedom on the mouth’s wave of coughing and spitting, but no such luck─ the mouth swallows the tooth. It dissolves, never knowing its replacement will be perfect, molded in acrylic, destined to spend its lifespan flipping in and out of the mouth at the whim of the mouth’s relentless tongue. 


Cheryl Snell’s books include several poetry collections and the novels of her Bombay Trilogy. Her latest title is a series called Intricate Things in their Fringed Peripheries. Most recently her writing has appeared in Gone Lawn, Cafe Irreal, Pure Slush, Literary Yard, and New World Writing. A classical pianist, she lives in Maryland.