Monday, May 08, 2006

All We Know of Heaven

For nearly three months, I wore a nightime corrective teeth training device, also known as The Fang. The Fang was a huge problem as it was cumbersome and ugly and I had a horrible fear of swallowing it. I wore it in hopes of helping with TMJ, a problem with my jaw being off that has gotten worse over the years. I went to a new dentist (my last one had the last name of Hurt -- I couldn't think this was a good sign, although he had been okay as dentists go, if a little uninspired) who claimed to be good for "nervous" patients. I didn't like the new guy at first sight; he had the air of a small-time pimp or hustler (think Eric Roberts in Star 80 with an even worse haircut) and believed in the hard sell. But I was desperate and at the end of an unbelievably long first appointment (over two hours!), I had The Fang. I was told in the voice one might use with a small, mentally-challenged child that wearing it would be fun and get rid of my headaches and that some people loved their devices so much that they wore them during the day. This gave me considerable pause. The day? The Fang? Granted, I mostly write (it was out of the question for teaching, although it might have given my students a good laugh), but The Fang made speech damn near impossible and as for how it looked -- well, let's say it was as subtle as cleft-palate. I despaired. Was The Fang the only road to the promised land? Sometimes The Fang fell out at night (note earlier fear of swallowing), and I'd have to dig through the sheets to retrieve it. When I finally got up the nerve to lose the thing for good and stopped with the pimp/dentist who after he showed me a video clip on how to brush my teeth more effectively in an effort to sell me a turbo-charged electric toothbrush, I went to a new dentist, a great one, who told me that The Fang had been discontinued because it was dangerous (note earlier fear of swallowing was, umm, valid -- I knew it! Innocents had choked!). I don't have any idea where The Fang is --I've gone through a move and things get lost in moves, but I'd love to see it again. I need something to wear during the day to keep me inside writing and in a constant state of fear and humiliation. And, of course, Halloween will be here in no time.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Stars were something, since I'd found out which was which." Mary Robison

Hangover Menu for Monday (in honor of my student who did his presentation last week and said, Forgive my lack of enthusiasm. I can't decide if I'm really hungover or still drunk.)

Vitamin Water (Revive because it's purple and tastes all right as far as water goes)
Saltine Crackers
Gummy Worms (better than bears because you don't feel as guilty about biting off their tiny little heads)

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Quercus Review

All We Know of Heaven

When you were here, it seemed enough.
Now are the days when every day is a death,
a reminder of all that is lost to us forever,
the black lights of grief, the punches that
did not telegraph themselves. Love breaks
your heart and is still not content. This is
all we know of heaven, that what we have
is never enough, that it has to be enough.


paul said...

Oh, Man,

you just reminded me of two things I need to take care of -- my teeth and my headache. Argh.

you look very pretty, though, great stuff.

cheri said...

On you, black is an adjective. Love the dress. Love the gummi worm suggestion, although the sadistic biting off of the heads is part of the satisfaction of eating those little bears.

John said...

Dear Michelle,

I'm back -- a quick greetings for now. Love the latest postings and Go Pistons! Glad to be home knowing there's such a lovely fellow Catholic Detroiter right around the proverbial corner.

cindy said...


we both know all too well how much men like to put on airs. Never trust any straight man, I say. They promise the world and deliver tennis balls.


Tom said...

I've had tmj forever(headaches)Too. You poor child,,,,,Tell me the tattoo is'nt real. If so it mars nothing. As Billy Joe Royal sings ' I knew you when '

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Tom,

You'll be happy to know that the tattoo is not a tattoo, but a snake arm bracelet. I'm too afraid to get a real anything like that!