Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #13 is “Get extra points and bragging rights by writing a poem using the following words – basil, candle, ink, tub, bread, lace.”

A strange grouping of words, no doubt… They painted a picture in my mind of a long soak in a clawfoot tub with a few tealights burning, the window open, lace curtains fluttering in the breeze.  On the vanity lies
a longhand letter half-tucked into a matching envelope.  But the bread did not materialize.  Neither did the basil.  Even if they had, how would
I write a poem about a scenario I know zilch about?  I can’t sit still long enough to enjoy a bath and neither of my bathrooms have a window, not to mention nobody in their right mind brings a treasured piece of correspondence into a space full of puddles and poo molecules.

Writer’s rule #1 is “Write what you know.”  When one of my crowns fell out, I had a story to tell.  But how would I get all the compulsory words to fit?  Poets are masterful at finding ways to break the rules while still operating within them.  They might even throw in a rhyme scheme just for shits and grins.

Yuge thanks to Muri for hosting this NPM challenge and providing the prompts.  I don’t know which was more fun, writing my own poems or reading the other submissions.


An upper crown
fell out of place
and left behind
an empty space

A jack-o-lantern
sans the candle
chewing things
it cannot handle

A trap for dough
and basil shreds
from Italian subs
on crusty bread

Off to Drug Mart
I boldly went
for a jar of DIY
tooth cement

The fix felt weird
My bite was off
It proved no match
for dental floss

The options suck
A vexing wobble?
Or a tender stub
to mollycoddle?

I’m on the brink
Should I endure it?
Or have an expert
resecure it?

Despite the risks
of COVID’s scare,
I guess I’ll brave
the dental chair

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  1. Tippy Gnu April 27, 2020 / 5:50 am

    A dental chair sounds like a good idea to me. Otherwise you might end up sans a tooth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 27, 2020 / 8:03 am

      Long story short, I went to a local dentist and the tooth has been glued back in with “the strongest adhesive in his arsenal.” It was a little awkward (we’d never met before, I cold-called him on the recommendation of my new doctor) and there was no assistant, but it went well. He was competent, careful, gentle, and had a sense of humor. I rate him 5 stars, and that’s high praise coming from a dentist-hater like me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu April 27, 2020 / 9:44 am

        Good, that’s nice it went so well. A dentist with a sense of humor is always a good thing. As long as he isn’t Steve Martin.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. murisopsis April 27, 2020 / 3:28 pm

    OH!! I had to laugh all the way through! You nailed it with the best cheating I’ve seen in a long time. I hope you can make it to the dentist and get crowned. I think you deserve a crown and not just one in your head but also on your head!! *Applause*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 27, 2020 / 4:17 pm

      Thanks, Muri! Working in the gray areas, I like to call it. I’m a dentist-avoiding do-it-yourselfer. I learned two things from this experience–Temparin is not all it’s cracked up to be and dental work is a far more precise art than I ever would have guessed. If a repair is off by a single millimeter, you feel it. I hadn’t been to a dentist since we moved so it was a rather awkward thing to call a complete stranger and ask for an emergency appointment. I told him my new doctor had recommended him. As it turned out, she is a favorite, longtime patient of his, so I didn’t even have to grovel. He was very nice. He re-glued the crown like I asked, but was very clear about it being just a temporary fix. The stump is broken off so it will need a more extensive repair down the road. 😦


      • murisopsis April 27, 2020 / 8:08 pm

        The dentist can be a scary and sometimes unpleasant experience. But it is better to see the professionals! I hope you can get the “stump” repaired or perhaps a replacement implant!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan April 28, 2020 / 8:26 am

      The tooth saga went on for about two weeks, Judy. As a reward for a successful week of dieting, I had a couple Tootsie Rolls. That’s how the crown came off. Life without the tooth was pretty miserable, but I have bad dental anxiety, I hadn’t yet hooked up with a dentist, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. So I Googled for a solution and came up with Temparin, an OTC product to replace lost fillings and glue crowns back on. It was in stock at Drug Mart, just 5 minutes away. I used too little on my first attempt and the crown fell off again a few days later. I used too much the second time; my bite was screwy and chewing was a chore. I decided if it fell off again, I’d call the dentist. Well, I was brushing and flossing on a Sunday night in preparation for a Zoom call with my family, and out it came. It wasn’t noticeable but I felt self-conscious the whole time we were talking. Monday morning, I bit the bullet and called a dentist. My doctor had given me the name of her dentist (months ago) and I’d scrawled it down in my pocket calendar. I almost lost my nerve and hung up when I got an answering machine. They called back in less than an hour, and saw me two days later. The dentist was a real sweetheart. He didn’t give me the third degree about the Tootsie Rolls or fuss about me having tried to fix it myself. The fumes from the epoxy he used made my eyes water, but he set the crown perfectly. 🙂


    • Just Joan April 28, 2020 / 6:27 pm

      Thanks, 227. Dr Seuss is my hero.
      Even when it’s an emergency:
      I do not like the noxious scents.
      I do not like the instruments.
      I do not like the squealing drill.
      I do not like to pay the bill.
      I do not like it here or there.
      I do not like the dental chair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 April 28, 2020 / 6:43 pm

        You do not like them.
        So you say.
        Try them! Try them!
        And you may.
        Try them and you may, I say!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan May 1, 2020 / 8:46 am

        Dr Seuss is everywhere this week. Saw this FB post and cracked up:

        Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 May 1, 2020 / 11:53 am

        Love it. If I remember right, I saw a different parody of this book – “Oh the Places You Won’t Go!”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Quirky Girl May 1, 2020 / 5:29 pm

    Eh. Chewing is overrated, not to mention overly tedious… but dang it, some foods are just too tasty to liquefy in a blender. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 1, 2020 / 5:35 pm

      It’s easy to lapse into automatic mastication mode and forget you’re not supposed to chew on that side. The blender is my friend, but guacamole and chips aren’t the same as a “shake.” After I saw the dentist and got the tooth re-cemented properly, that was the first thing I ate. 🙂 How’s Jett?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Girl May 1, 2020 / 5:47 pm

        Glad your tooth is better. Jett is hanging in there… I think we are back on track now, with a new antibiotic and more anti inflammatory. Baby steps 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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