in a while,” my father says as he wheelsBut we’re not hereto talk. The cleaning will takemy gullet. The thing about dentistsis that they’re always demanding youto smile, bite down, open up,rinse. He just needs youthe stepmother I haven’t seen in yearsbecause she loved to danceso hard in bars she brokein half, sloppy in the lobbymean. “I still see hersometimes,” he says and removesof gauze. I can only offervariations of mhmm’s as he triesto wipe gunk on the napkinstains my shirt instead.