Words and photos by Mark Renz

Fossil Great White Shark Tooth found by Rick Knight, FL creek

Fallen Tooth

You look so peaceful

buried there in a grey and rust-colored suit

Your final resting place?

Or does your journey continue?

Your blade and base

appear sculpted by careful, deliberate hands

A First Place ribbon for design, color and texture

in the Natural History Art Show

But wait...

This is not the show you entered

Where in the mighty jaw did you form?

How many came before you, lined up next to you,

above you, behind you...

While you grew infant-like, soft and rubbery?

How did you know when your time had come?

How well did you know the general

who gave you your marching orders?

And your comrades,

the ones who worked with you to grasp

and saw into the encountered creature...

What will they do next?

When was your final moment of freedom,

knowing your job was complete?

What did it feel like

to break free

to glide and descend to the ocean floor...


And now, eons later...

why are you in such demand?

Why do other creatures stare at you,


writing papers, requesting grants?

Posting your mug on e-bay

Who is to say that their lives are more fulfilling?

Can they claim such adventure and purpose?

I have never before noticed that some of the serrations
on the great white face toward the base of the tooth, which suggests
that the tooth not only enters at an angle advantageous for piercing its prey,
but is equally advantageous as it tears on the way back out.