Dear Carole, The dentist is about to pull
my wisdom teeth and I stayed up all night
drinking to dumb my brain enough
to drag my happy-ass across town at 8 a.m.
and into this frightening chair next to the gizmos
and loud whirly drills, the smell of latex
pressed against my nose, the latex dust
getting caught in the back of my throat.
I can already feel the dentist’s sadistic hands
pushing farther and farther into my mouth,
and there’s so much pressure and he’s so far in
I think he’s going to stand up with my tongue torn off
in his rubber-laden hand like an anthropologist,
like fucking Indiana Jones finding some third world
country’s indigenous treasure.
I want to yell at him: Don’t you know better
than to take from people who have nothing
but these relics, these baubles?
But he’s got my still slab of a tongue in his hand
and the noise that comes from the back
of my throat is just choking, as if a person
could even choke on absence.
Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the chapbook, All Day, Talking published by Dancing Girl Press (2014). She holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine, So to Speak: Feminist Journal of Language and Art, among others. Her manuscript, This, Like So Much, was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Contest. A selection from her chapbook manuscript All Day, Talking won the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship in 2013. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop.
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Booth, The Emerson Review, Harpur Palate, Moon City Review, Stirring, and Whiskey Island, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.