Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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My Daughter Gets Her Wisdom Teeth Extracted

And the other woman in the waiting room is filing
her nails, methodically sweeping the emery
board until she has something just about perfect.
On the television: show where people assiduously
scour an outdoor flea market in hopes of finding rare
wonders. We are both watching it, both our mouths
agape, when the nail filer says, you really have to have
an imagination. I wonder if she means imagination
to be on the show or imagination to be alive.

Today’s flea-market-find theme is the Golden Age
of Hollywood, all mirrors and gilt and lacquer.
Far in the doctor’s back room my daughter’s under
anesthesia and I am remembering cleaning erasers,
how that was both a punishment and a privilege
after school: out there on the balcony banging
the felt free of chalk. The flea market contestants’
time is running out. The nail filer shifts in her chair,
looks straight at me and says, life has no guarantees.  

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