The one thing I don’t cancel —
my appointed time with the dentist

I welcome not telling him.
Leaning back in the leather chair

I want the sting of the needle,
deadened senses.

I let him dig around, my mouth agape,
eyes shut against the glaring lamp.

I hear the whirr, feel the fray
of tooth touch my lip;

let the taps, clinks do their job —
a hole prepared with smooth sides.

Then feel without pain the hole
filled slowly, the tamping down

the tuck and scrape of amalgam.
How carefully my dentist works

to smooth over the surface.
His work is a blessing,

its small, precise sensations
are what I can manage.

First Published in Slipstream