Every morning, I wake up filled with dread,
secure in the knowledge that my teeth
are going to fall out, my jawbones eroding,
dementia sliding into my head, my heart,
because I hide from needles, from expense,
from the shame of If only you came to see me
six months ago, a year, or five, or even ten.
I wish I were an animal that was unaware
of death and decay, decline and its prevention
or, at least, delay. There are no dentists for
river otters, say — I would tuck my head,
paddle in the shale, and no one would say
I should have known better; if only I had.