Baby Teeth / by Stillwater Magazine

by Emma Sheinbaum

 

Baby teeth grow

through gums only

 

to fall out, to make room for

more permanent things, but I

 

only want good things

to be permanent things. I

 

never let mine go, I would

make them stay, even if

 

only by a thread of tissue. I

lost my first tooth in first

 

grade, in a cupcake, and it

was by accident. Mommy

 

pulled the rest out, and I

made her use numbing cream

 

so I wouldn’t have to feel it,

even though they were already

 

detached, just a little hollow tombstone,

a baby tooth shell ready to be shattered

 

by the permanent tooth forcing

its way in. My first front tooth

 

was completely grown in while

its baby placeholder was still hanging

 

on by a single string of root. I stopped

eating in case it fell out, I could feel it

 

tapping against the permanent

tooth behind it every time I breathed

 

in and Mommy said it was disgusting, but

that didn’t make it any less scary to let it

 

disconnect from my mouth. “It’s

just there, it’s already

 

gone, it’s just there,” she

said until she couldn’t take

 

looking at me anymore, until

I could barely even hold onto

 

it anymore; she plucked it, its root

snapped like a guitar string, I heard

 

it hum but couldn’t feel it even

though Mommy refused

 

to use the numbing cream—“There

is nothing to numb.


See? It’s already dead.”