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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Prose Poem: 332 words
By Rick Christiansen

Baby Teeth


I just want what is best for him. Lots of reading first, I am a nurse. My hands are steady. I know how to set up a sterile field. Clean towels, sterilize the needle nose pliers. Use the small pointy pair—his teeth are small—better for gripping. The dentist said he needs selective extraction so his grownup teeth will come in straight. Lots of reading first. The dentist is right, he is telling the truth. He isn’t just trying to take my money. The boy needs to have it done. It’s nobody’s fault that we can’t afford it. We are self reliant. Lots of reading first, to pick the right teeth. He is a good boy. He will sit still for it. It’s for his own good. I’ll go slow...no...I’ll go fast.... Like ripping off a bandaid...no...I’ll go slow. I have to be careful. I can put down that old plastic tablecloth so no blood gets on the rug. I will set up a sterile field. He will sit still for it. We are partners, a team. It needs to be done. Four teeth I think, gotta make room for his big boy teeth. He is a big boy. He understands that we have to DO for ourselves. Lots of reading first, to get it right. He will sit still for it. I love him...he knows I love him. Some things just need to happen. It’s for his own good. He will thank me when his big boy teeth are strong and straight. He will be glad when he smiles at the girls. He will thank me then. Only one tooth to pull each day. He will sit still for it. Four days—four teeth. He can swish some Listerine. We are a team. I will create a sterile field. I can do this. I need to do this. I’ll use the little pliers. He has little teeth. He will sit still for it.

Rick Christiansen
Issue 14, August 2022

is a former corporate executive, stand-up comedian, actor, and director. His work is published or forthcoming in Alien Buddha Press, As It Ought to Be Magazine, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Muddy River Poetry Review, Oddball Magazine, Stone Poetry Journal, The Raven’s Perch, The Rye Whiskey Review, and WINK Magazine, among others. He is the co-host of SpoFest and a member of The St. Louis Writers Guild, and lives in Missouri near his eight grandchildren.

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