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Repeat Checkup
Marjorie Maddox (bio)

“There was never yet Philosopher
that could endure the Toothache patiently.”
Much Ado About Nothing, V.i. 35–36

At the root, in the o of howl,
the un-Novocained pain of excavation,

no patience grows for poetry,
no pithy acceptance of oratory endurance.

The stoics are liars,
their lips trembling

with the same terse curses
and angry anathemas

toward anyone sporting drills
or orthodontia.

Listen to Leonato:
open your mouth and scream.

Pity each thirty-two
enameled square of pain.

Afterwards, you can shoot up
with amnesia or

meditate on your reconstructed memory or
compose insightful epics on

the ontological components
of suffering and the human shriek.

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