nine times in four months

she was a red
head, wore bobbed and short. 
she wore scrubs, too, 
with a tattoo which covered
her entire arm.

she was a woman and a mother
by definition, 
but she seemed younger,
her soul was as old 
as mine, I think.

her son was my age, too
well, that’s what she said,
but I don’t believe her.

she always smiled when I
came in, small talk 
until the dentist was 
I enjoyed it
more each time.

she said the third time
she liked my hair, 
she said 
she loved my hair 
she thought it was cute 
I laughed, but
that’s it,

because I’m far 
kinder and she’s far 
older than 
we ought to be.

“it looks like
this is it,”
the dentist said,
“nine times
in four months, but
this is it.” 
I smiled,
she smiled,
and we both knew 
it was fake.
I said, “that’s great.”
she got 

so they got on with it
she’s seen the inside 
of my mouth
nine times now,
and she’s stuck that
sucky thing in 
for my dog-like spit, 
nine different days now.
when it hit my tongue 
she’d giggle 
like a twenty year old.

she still smiled.
she still made small talk.
she still liked my hair.
her hair was still red.

when he put the needle 
in I felt it all 
go numb, 
she giggled again:
the same young giggle, 

“for a redhead 
you respond quick to anesthetic,” 
I laughed, but 
that’s it,

because I’m far 
more mature and she’s far 
more interesting than 
we ought to be.

when it was all over 
I said goodbye, 
for the torture.
the dentist laughed, 
walked away.

it was only us and
just then
the dentist assistant’s red hair 
reflected onto the wall
it was a young flame of 
a shadow, better than 
a shadow.
when she walked away 
her back arched,
her behind looked wonderful
as wonderful as any girl 
my age,
and just then
she looked back,
smiled again
for the last time,
her front looked wonderful,
as wonderful as anyone
any age.

with everything in me,
like an animal,
like instinct,
just then,
right there,
I wanted to take her.

I think the Novocain did 
more than just 
numb my face
as I stood
drooling like a dog,
tail wagging
at the impossible.

she was fond of me,
I was fond of her,
and that’s the way it will 
stay, forever,
a memory stuck 
in the reflection.

her red hair 
projected on the wall,
never to be touched
never to be anything at all
but a laugh,
a smile,
and a good