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Teeth Will Prevail

Published in Daily Dangle




There’s an old Mexican woman
who comes into my work and has a
skinny black
and no teeth
except for one
rotting tooth in the front.


When she closes her mouth
the tooth hangs outside her lip.
The tooth reminds me of one of Cinderella’s helper mice
that follow her around
and help her make the dress to go to the ball.
I don’t know why a tooth would remind me of a mouse
but it does.
Some connections we make in life are just too hard to understand.


I always think:
if I were her i’d remove that
to give myself an even appearance.
Having just one tooth
calls too much attention to itself.
Having a single tooth
is like having a chopstick coming out of your mouth.
Not very helpful at all in my opinion,
but more helpful than having no teeth, perhaps.


How do you chew with no teeth?
How do you eat meat?
You can’t.
Does food even have flavor if one has no teeth?


It is impossible to floss if you only have one tooth!


The day will also come for me
when I lose my teeth.
I know I won’t make it to my old age
with all my teeth.
My grandparents all had dentures.
We do not have good dental genes.
I already have receding gums
and i’m in my 20’s.
I’m actually 30
but the receding gums started when I was in my 20’s.
Our teeth just fall right off.
Now, technology
is allowing us to install fixed teeth in our mouths.
It sounds so painful
I almost would rather use dentures.
But dentures come off!
When you sleep they come off!
When you have surgery they come off!
When you die they come off!


Once my grandma had a hip replacement.
As she was being wheeled back
into her room she was
still high from the drugs and anesthetic
and she looked like a monster
without her teeth on.
Her whole face was sunken in.
She was a muppet.
She kept trying to tell us
“I’m fine, I’m fine”,
but without her teeth on
it sounded like she was saying
“Trés bien, trés bien”.
The doctors thought we were french
and it made me feel special.


When my aunt died
I had to recognize the
body at the morgue
and I almost didn’t recognize her
because her dentures were off.
Like without our eyebrows,
without our teeth
we loose our identity!
Life is so fragile.


with dentures
one must super glue them to the gums
Its not actual superglue
but some kind of
adhesive that comes in a tooth paste like container.
The one brand I know well is called
My aunt,
the one who is dead,
would make us bring her
by the dozens when we would visit her in Argentina.
“The national brands don’t hold as well”
she would say,
so we would travel with 24 packs of
and when we opened our suitcases
she anxiously awaited
for us to hand them to her.
She would put too much on
and it accumulated
on the
sides of her mouth.
White, glue-like paste
of her mouth.
I never wanted to share straws with her because it made me sick.


Teeth tell so much.
Why is dentistry seen as cosmetic?
That’s not correct.
Human DNA is preserved in them!
The building blocks of life!
If the body is burned
Now that I think about it again:


If I was the lady with the skinny black beard i’d hold onto that tooth as if it was my life.

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