Friday, September 16, 2011

Late Orthodontia


Late Orthodontia

A dentist wants to straighten the man's teeth,
close up those those gaps--the ones that help
to scare people when his smile, tied somehow
to a Viking heritage, fully deploys its ivory squad.
An aunt of his had teeth behind her wisdom teeth.
He wonders if his is a Berserker's grin.

He hadn't invited the dentist to suggest dental
rearrangement. He had been and is content
with his teeth.  The man gets much unbidden
advice, always has. War, famine, and economic
collapse continue, so he's not however about
to spend excess thought on piercers and grinders

that do their jobs. "Do you floss with rope?" a
pretty young woman once asked him way back
then at a college party. "If you take your clothes
off, I'll try it," he'd said. They'd shared a laugh,
teeth bared. She'd stared at his teeth. Again.
Hers were straight and white, direct from suburbia.

"When I was 10," he told her, "my parents asked
the dentist if I should get braces." Probably the
Eagles were playing in the party's background--
"Tequila Sunrise" or "Take It Easy."  He said,
"But the dentist told them that my tongue is
too big and would just push the teeth and open

the gaps again. "No," the woman had said. She
smelled good, had on a thin dress. "Yes," he said.
Now through the Invisoline of memory, he
recalls that she shifted hips as he sipped tequila.
"Really," she said, not quite a question, and sipped
her beer, looked at his closed mouth; and pondered.

Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom
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