Your Orthodontist, An Amiable Man By Ann Zhang

Your Orthodontist, An Amiable Man

your orthodontist’s fingers in your mouth
left thumb hooked around a rubber band his hand
might be green you think
he has a name you can’t remember he keeps asking
about your day while splitting angles down pharynx

by now you know when to blink or open wider
when you can’t hold your eyes to his tooth-mirror’s
glow maybe your orthodontist knows
you don’t floss
knows your middle name he sets
the tooth-mirror on your chest like there’s no
finer surface in the whole frozen ballroom

you meet your orthodontist among wildflower
snatches like in the movies
he’s frolicking
stretching out your mother’s favorite slip
maybe his mouth is a trench
where sirens kneel, lapping honey
he’s thinking about a root canal but won’t tell
until you hurt you dream he could have been
some kid’s tooth fairy or father he begins to hum
presses a finger to your lips
you pry them open like magnets
the clicking of teeth
thrum of an x-ray
you count until your gums ache
then bleed

By Ann Zhang


Ann Zhang lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her family and 16-pound cat. She writes when she is hungry, which is often.

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