Photo by Erick Tang on Unsplash

Hygienist

nearly forgotten first Spring day
appointment, which should

remind me (along with 
calls and calendar 
notices) but doesn’t

anxiety pressed against your 
great window overlooking 
the peaceful valley below

at odds with my pockets, my 
fours and fives, and worry

the chair arms leaned back, 
and yes the pillow please, for
my neck

this, my new normal, my once 
every three months, or bacteria

reestablish after 
ninety days of passive inertia

but it’s fine, it’s 
less time to disregard advice,
more likely to remember, to

fine tune my ten minutes of dental 
material, to kill, as they say, to bring

down the house, before
the light shuts me down,

struck by how intimate, 
scraping tartar, fingertips pressed

against my lips and gums, pulling 
tissue away in what must be 
a hideous grimace

how intimate, yet distancing
charmed to distraction with imagined

crushes, wondering who, if 
anyone, falls in love 
with their hygienist

sitting up, reminded of the noon 
sun, finally warm, snow nearly

vanished from the far riverbank
how odd gratitude, a numb 
tongue-flattened sense of

self, of taste, of time
what to give you now, to thank

you, and why, but 
see you again in three months
you have my number