After
3
weeks
of
Tuesdays,
my
temporary
crown
is
replaced
with
a
more
permanent
(10+
years)
fixture.
Like
shoeing
a
miniature
horse,
the
dentist
tugs
at
the
little
cap
and
tugs
some
more
until
the
old
glue
lets
go.
“A
strong
bond,”
he
says.
“Probably
a
good
thing
we
used
anesthesia.” The
new
bit
requires
some
fussing.
The
dentist
and
his
assistant,
fingers
in
my
mouth,
push
the
tooth
into
place
until
there
is
appropriate
contact
between
it
and
its
neighbor.
Floss
is
used
to
test
the
gap.
Eventually,
the
tooth
is
home. After
the
procedure,
I
ask
to
see
the
used
crown.
By
appearance,
it
is
nothing
more
than
the
skin
of
a
pea.
Then
he
shows
me
the
mold
of
half
my
mouth
cast
in
ceramic.
Shipped
from
the
lab,
there
are
wire
bars
where
muscle
would
be.
This
is
part
of
my
skull,
I
think.
This
is
how
I
will
say
goodbye. *** I
nestle
into
the
green
chair
with
Time,
skimming
an
article
about
change.
That
feeling
of
déjà
vu
rolls
over
me.
I
have
been
in
this
chair
before,
reading
this
article
and
thinking
I’ve
been
in
this
chair
before,
reading
this
article
and
thinking. The
memory
is
at
least
three-fold,
like
a
pastry
rolled
out
then
kneaded
back
into
itself.
I
know
it
isn’t
the
same
chair
or
the
same
article.
I
can
place
the
other
dentist’s
office.
It
overlooked
a
river
in
Michigan
and
was
much
better
appointed.
Today’s
dentist
comes
in
and
I
put
the
magazine
down.
As
I
tilt
back
and
look
up
at
the
ceiling
tiles,
his
latex
hands
in
my
mouth,
the
déjà
vu
passes.
I
am
free
and
living
in
the
present,
rolled
out
flat
and
stretching
from
point
A
to
point
B
along
a
single
plane.
No
gaps.
No
mysterious
thresholds. But
I
know
that
only
a
moment
before
I
had
the
experience
of
re-experience.
I
am
uncomfortable,
but
not
by
the
dental
procedure
of
the
day.
There
is
nothing
either
ordinary
or
extraordinary
about
my
visit.
My
dentist
will
replace
a
temporary
crown
on
my
second
molar
with
a
fitting
more
permanent.
The
task
will
take
15
minutes.
Still,
something
was
unlocked
and
my
brain
repeated
a
rhythm,
decided
to
perform
a
circle
dance
and
summersault
to
align
a
moment
with
no
origin. It
feels
like
a
strange
hello.
The
dentist
tugs
at
my
temporary
tooth.
It
has
a
tighter
grip
than
he
expected.
“Probably
a
good
thing
we
used
anesthesia,”
he
says. *** I
run
into
Chad
in
the
atrium.
For
no
apparent
reason,
he
asks
me
to
guess
what’s
in
his
pocket. “A
tooth,”
I
say. Bemused,
he
pulls
out
a
tooth
–
his
own
–
buried
in
his
denim.
“How
did
you
know?” Chad
paints
pictures
of
corn
with
rows
of
kernels
more
like
teeth.
Chad
loves
to
talk
teeth
and
swears
by
his
dentist,
a
man
with
an
office
overlooking
the
river. “Lucky
guess,”
I
offer.
He
thinks
it
magic
and
walks
away.
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