Emptier

Got my retainers two days ago.
They feel like clamps, within.
Pressing against gums
The bottom one has made gum sore.
No matter
A three-month pain for beautiful teeth
Forever and ever.

My tongue can still waggle
But somehow, when they’re inside, I don’t feel like talking.
Without the blessed contact of tongue to mouthroof
The lips become less likely to part.

I still talk, among some.
But otherwise, I am still.
My mouth a straight line.

The residents have become strange to me.
Some have fled to faraway lands
Others, back to their abodes.

I stay on, and feel, the difference.

Even those once familiar
Seem less so.
I wander into rooms of laughing people
I thought I knew
They laugh, heedless of the man
With the mouth clamped from within
I walk away, silently

I’m not used to the absence
Of music from next door.
When will the minstrel return?
Maybe next semester.

Never felt emptier.

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