Dragon Caterpillar Afternoon

I wrote this poem today after waiting at the dentist.
There is just something about waiting rooms that inspires – especially this particular one.
I’ve put it over at Ripple Poetry as well, where you can read more poetry. At the moment I am reading a lot of Australian History but in fact/fiction form. No doubt that will make it’s way into my work as well over the coming months.

dancing dragon caterpillar
dancing dragon caterpillar-TeeJayBee Flickr Creative Commons

I’m waiting for the truth about my teeth –
Do they have holes?

I’m reading famous Australian speeches
beginning with the apology speech to Australia’s Indigenous people
with truths acknowledged and sorry for all the stolen
children gathered by whips and trucks
and their grieving mothers
it’s content and how long they had to wait
brings the gathering of about to be tears
to my eyes.

I want to read more but don’t want to dissolve in a dentist’s waiting room
and have to explain that historical moments have made me teary
so I flick the pages to find something
a little bit less moving.

This is an amazing book
with Manning Clark and Miles Franklin.
I read their biographies
and skim their speeches
for memorable lines.
I think of the film My Brilliant Career
and the throw away biography line that Miles was popular with the opposite sex
but never married,
then there are a lot of political speeches
Prime Minister after Prime Minister has his day
but it’s hard to concentrate when
my teeth hurt, time to give history a rest,

Time to read gardening magazines
and here I skim the biographies of
landscape photographers and people
who write gardening books and novels
like Jackie French.
I love her books.

I discover caterpillars with clown faces
and others disguised as tiny ferocious dragons
so that predators don’t go near them
I make a mental note to tell my daughter.

There’s some poem on the wall all about
a tooth fairy with a cute picture
probably to make children feel the magic
of clean teeth.

It’s time to go in
find the verdict.

My teeth are hurting
but it seems to take a while for a verdict
there are xrays
and inspections,
seems the truth is there are no holes
should I be happy or glad
to find my teeth are fine
it’s probably my sinuses
making them hurt
and I have a mouth ulcer it seems,

But knowing is better than not knowing.
Now the path to happy recovery is clear
and perhaps tonight I will dream
of a Tooth Fairy riding a dragon caterpillar
bringing me a cup of hot lemon tea
and taking me to a circus to watch clown caterpillars
through a looking glass.


By June Perkins

4 thoughts on “Dragon Caterpillar Afternoon

  1. If there is anyone I know that can be inspired to write poetry in a dental office, it is you! Very nice job and I love that you changed subjects just like we change magazines while we are waiting. Thurmbs up!

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