Inez My Dental Technician

by Richie Narvaez

INEZ, my dental technician, has eyes big as the world
I stare at them as she scrapes my teeth,
makes little cuts along the gumline.
I taste my own blood. She asks, ''Are you doin' OK? OK?''
I can see what's she's doing reflected in her goggles,
but mostly I look through them to her hazel eyes.
She wears a surgical mask,
her thick auburn hair tied back.
As she scrapes, blood, spit, tartar
fly out of my mouth onto my chin
and forehead. I figure it must land on her hair, too.
Does she hate it? Does the smell of scraped teeth stay
around her face, her hair? Does she wash her hair
as soon as she gets home, takes a long shower, maybe,
maybe she washes her hair twice a day? It looks a little dry.
Or does she sit in the bathtub while somebody else
washes her hair? Somebody else?
Inez cleans the back of my lower front teeth. She gets real close
to see in her little bent mirror thing,
some of her auburn hair touches my forehead
and there we connect.
I rinse, she asks, ''Have you been flossing?''
I make affirmative sounds. When she finishes,
she takes off her mask and then she is shy, even goofy-looking,
her teeth slightly bucked.
It's as if she devotes her life to good teeth
because she missed out. My noble Inez.

(This asinine poem was previously published in Faultline.)

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