Sweet Tooth

By Russell Edson 1935–2014 Russell Edson
A little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice was eaten by someone with a sweet tooth the size of an elephant’s tusk.
         Ah, he said, this darn tooth, it’s driving me nuts.

         Then another voice is heard. It’s the little girl’s father who says, have you seen a little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice?--Incidentally, what’s that thing sticking out of your mouth like an elephant’s tusk?
         My sweet tooth, and it’s really driving me nuts.
         You ought to see a dentist.
         But he might want to pull it, and I don’t like people pulling at me. If they want to pull they should pull at their own pullables.
         So true, said the little girl’s father, people should pull at their own pullables and let other people's pullables alone. But still, he asked again, I wonder if you’ve seen a little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice?

“Sweet Tooth” from The Tormented Mirror: Poems by Russell Edson © 2001. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: The Tormented Mirror (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001)

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Poet Russell Edson 1935–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, The Body

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Russell  Edson

Biography

Called the “godfather of the prose poem in America,” Russell Edson’s idiosyncratic body of work is populated with strange and intriguing figures: a woman fights a tree, a mother serves ape; in the poem “Let Us Consider,” there’s a “farmer who makes his straw hat his sweetheart” and an “old woman who makes a floor lamp her son.” The poems are surreal and fablelike, sometimes resembling brief plays. Donald Hall said of Edson’s . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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