I haven’t gone to the dentist in over a year because the thought
of going every six months for
THE REST OF MY LIFE
was an overwhelming commitment
and, — ,
I stopped going.
the promise of forever is too much in any
context, but now
I have a goddamn cavity
The racist patient turns a friendly question about his daughter into a ten minute story about how the people next door also have a daughter. But their daughter was bad and tried to hit his daughter. When his daughter heroically fought off the neighbor peoples’ daughter, “the cops didn’t even want to hear it because the neighbors,” he says, “are black.”
The racist patient does not notice that I immediately stop looking, responding, and listening to him once this story begins. He also doesn’t note the lack of conversational cues signifying my agreement to his rant about the mayor of New York City betraying his police force over blacks. In fact, racist patient, fifteen minutes into his barrage and ten minutes over his appointment time, stiffens and raises his voice when I laughingly disagree that Obama is not a terrorist supporting muslim.
When I don’t have an answer for why I’ve never seen “Dumbo Ears,” as he calls him, go to church, this pleases the racist patient and he sits back with his arms crossed. I realize that I have an invitation to end the visit, and I take it.
Goodbye, racist patient. I will see you again soon, and I will certainly forget you are racist until it is too late, and you are sitting in your chair, beginning a long story about another human, who is black.
at 449 pounds, it’s hard for her
to make it to the doctor, so the doctor
and the pharmacist and the nurse
come to her
she sits atop the couch, three fingers
to lift the hanging skin of her belly.
something is leaking, she says
the antenna brings laughing white teeth
and silken dancing hair through the static of the tv
stale cigarette smoke filling the world