From Things You Find in a Poet's Beard by A.F. Harrold
Shirley was six when her teeth started to fall out.
Her big brother, Ben, told her not to worry.
He said it happened to him,
he said it happened to everyone,
and told her she’d get new teeth in time.
In fact, to prove his point
and to set her mind at ease
he snuck into their gran’s bedroom one night
and by the light of a small torch
showed her the dentures floating in the bedside glass.
Ben told Shirley that soon enough
their mum would take her to the dentist’s
to be fitted with dentures of her own –
a clanky toothy plastic plate
Shirley was sure she would hate to have to wear.
She cried and cried when a second tooth became wobbly
and her mum asked her what the matter was
and Shirley explained between fearful sobs
and her mum said that Ben, even though he was her son,
was just an idiot.
Of course, new teeth grew from underneath
where her milk teeth had been
and she told her brother Ben that she wouldn’t need false teeth,
not for years and years, although if he played a trick like that again
he might be needing them that much sooner.