Caries

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    Little hole little well
    of dark staining the lacquer
    of my tooth little confessor
    coming close and coming close

    why are you pursuing me
    interrogator of the nerve
    in its garden
    of blood and moisture its long sleep

    what secrets can my nerve
    confess to you what do you want
    of us your drill
    and file still thrillingly in play

    and how shall I appease you
    a god’s dark eye
    going to and fro and going
    even in the secret places?


    Fiona Sampson has received the Newdigate Prize, a Cholmondeley Award, Writer’s Awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales and the Society of Authors, various Poetry Book Society commendations, and international prizes in Macedonia and the US. She has twice been shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prizes. She is published in thirty-seven languages. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Roehampton. Her Selected Poems recently appeared in the US, China, Romania and Ukraine. This spring she publishes The Catch (Chatto) and this autumn, Lyric Cousins: Musical Form in Poetry.