magpies in may

Guam

She/Her
Introverted
Korean-American
Trilingual, likes history/debate/jigsaw puzzles
Terrible at sports
I’m an ARMY. 보라해~

Message to Readers

08. 08. 2022: Just got my braces off today! The infinite amount of time you spend waiting for the orthodontist allows ample time to compose a poem...
I hope this wasn't too vague. Any feedback!

Thoughts in the Orthodontist's Chair

August 8, 2022

FREE WRITING

6
It surprises me
how easily
those brackets come off

the pliers gently
teases them off
like throwing back metal clasps
from a long-forgotten
treasure chest

Just wait for the doctor.
the nurse leaves me in the chair.

I stare, entranced
at the brackets on the tray.
They're still together, joined
by the colorful wires. They
look like
broken vertebrae, or
clusters of unraveled conch shells, or
the vestiges of what's between us.

I run my tongue over my teeth.
It feels so strange—
but it is only in its natural state.
They're freed. Am I?

When they take me to do X-rays
the heavy apron's velcro
strains to come apart.
The door closes.
I stand still, trying
not to breathe as
the velcro
struggles. One snap and
what is between them will die.
Were we, too, like the velcro?

When they take me to make molds
for my retainer
the tray won't fit just right. My
gagging reflex is on autopilot.
You and the mold are one.
The mold is soft at first, but then
it hardens until
I am choking, gagging, trying to spit
it out because
it must. It must.

When I wait in
the waiting room
so I can pay and leave
I saw a silhouette glide past
the tinted windows
wearing the same gray Polo hoodie
I bought you some while ago.
The silhouette turns, catches
my eye. He is not you. I
turn away.
No matter. For one moment
he was you.
I run my tongue over my teeth.
All I feel are the traces
of the glue that once
held my
brackets
in place.

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3 Comments
  • lochnessie

    re: thank you!
    also, this is really really good - you manage to say so much in so few lines and i love "for one moment, he was you". the thread that runs throughout this whole poem of connection and the sudden lack of it is so amazing and this is one of my favourite pieces of writing i've read in a while, seriously! so well done :)


    2 months ago
  • Solus

    Congrats for getting your braces off!! :D
    I love the line “ They //look like //broken vertebrae, or //clusters of unraveled conch shells, or //the vestiges of what's between us. “
    I might be over analysing this but the repeated “or”s makes it seem like you’re shifting from foot to foot, of being uncomfortable and trying to define the loss of that person.


    2 months ago
  • solarflair

    This is so good. While I did have interesting thoughts at the orthodontist from time to time, I never considered making a poem entirely about the orthodontist. The way you describe everything is perfect and I love how you've added a personal touch as well.


    2 months ago