Spitting the fragments into my palm my tongue probes the hollow– how will I pay for this? what have I done wrong? why didn’t I go to my last check-up?– and then the next tooth crumbles and the next and the next, I’m coughing out shards and grief as I shake myself into wakefulness.
Dampened with sweat, I pull myself away from Mary’s curved form and tuck in blankets to replace my warmth. Erik is out of town and my bedroom is a minefield of toys and small bodies who love to play slumber party when daddy is gone. Tripping to the bathroom and a glass of water, I examine my teeth– imperfect, several cavities and a root canal for each baby– but clearly intact.