Gail Schulte

Self-neglect. It claims my skin, hair . . .  and now, my teeth. My filthy mouth—bitten-off fingernail snagged on a cracked bicuspid. Flecks of yesterday’s Swedish meatball floating above a tooth-scape of jagged, sooty spires. Boggy, slow-bleeding gums. A spelunker’s nirvana. What's tunneling behind my smile? It’s only when—only when—I conjure Bette Davis and her beautifully foul mouth, snarling through those hell-red lips, that I shiver, unclench; and deeply exhale.

Photograph by Lorena Silaj

Gail Schulte

Gail Schulte was raised in a large clan of autoworkers and book lovers in suburban Detroit. Volunteer and professional projects have taken her from the seaside village of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, to Shrewsbury in the United Kingdom. A graduate of Michigan State University and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, her poems have appeared in Kingfisher and Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal.

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