Everyone knows this is not really about dentistry

It’s like the dangling tooth
our seven-year-old selves were so reluctant
to detach completely,
putting off that final snap of tissue.

We use our tongues to probe
the pulpy cavity of loss; then press
the obsolescent molar
back in place as if it still belongs.

With sustained laments
we keep at bay the adults in the room
who want to intervene
and yank the damn thing out and get it done.

Our protests deafen us
to promises it will be better out
and that we’ll get a sixpence
when we tuck it underneath our pillows.

© Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Now we are again

It’s good to be back, we say
if, give or take an inch of tarmac
or a square of paving
or a clod or two of turf,
we think we’re where we were
when something rather special happened.

This frisson of déjà été –
not mere déjà vu – is valid
relative to earth
if we assume our growing-up
locations haven’t shifted
latitude or longitude.

But reckoning from the sun
our position turns on calendars
and clocks. We need a date –
down to the second – to revisit,
with full 3D precision,
one of our old stamping grounds.

And the sun roams a galaxy
within a universe that’s still
expanding.  So, whatever
warm nostalgic glows we bask in,
I’ve been here before
must be a case of false pretences.

© Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

White nights in Northern Finland


They went outside together as the shock
of Kuhmo’s best coitus interruptus sunset
edged the clouds and trees with pink
and stroked – but did not penetrate – the lake.

And as the sun held off from bearing down
on the horizon, he remembered his draft novel
with its foreplay-heavy bedroom scenes
deferring any metaphors for thrusting.

Later on, indoors, the night still undecided
on the cusp of come or go,
where sleep meets stimulation, she was trembling
like a solar-powered butterfly on wire

hovering among Helsinki souvenirs
in that boutique for tourists by the statue
of three blacksmiths with their hammers poised
to fall if one authentic virgin passes by.

© Michael Bartholomew-Biggs