I view the color first, one shade of yellow,
and another, A1 then C2, neither white.
Mine are teeth unbleached. The assistant
explains my teeth are dry, dehydrated.
The dentist promises a change in their shade
post-procedure. A question: C2–do you agree?
An answer: yes. The dentist addresses the front
tooth I chipped in two, to shape and make it new.
Dentist and assistant pass tools above my face.
I lay flat between them but cannot translate
these foreign objects. A board game, I receive
their action. Their tools, one planchette, slide
from side to side. I am their Ouija board.
They shape questions and record the vowels
I return until they restore my tooth. Overlarge,
imprecise, grotesque–where was nothing,
now a false tooth. Only vowels, the occasional y
possess me. Multiple choice: shape here, here,
here, or all of the above? He says shape, shaves
is what he means. The structure looms. An answer,
a guess, a yes to all. Their game resumes. A response
essay: I request a hairstylist trim around my face,
she asks where I like my bangs to fall, eyebrow
or eye? I save the risk for another day. Who am I
to say, yes, this is the shape I choose for my tooth?
After two hours, the dentist reviews his work,
requests feedback. I suggest perhaps more shaping.
He instructs me then to test it out, return for a trim
in about a week if I need. To choose a new tooth
is a lesson self-taught. I concede. A bonus point:
I imagine in place of my new tooth what the dentist
of one hundred years ago would have reclaimed,
a central incisor straight from a dead soldier’s head.
This improves my mood, though slightly. My tongue
relearns my tooth, new and smooth. I will have always
possessed this tooth soon, but for now to speak, I lisp.