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Your Daughter's Teeth
by Lincoln Michel

The inside was wet. You ran your finger along the pink fleshy stumps feeling for knots. There was one hard clump up front. Your baby cried, reached for your breast, and then a tooth emerged. Father dropped his newspaper and grabbed the Polaroid.
    Two, three, more and she no longer wanted milk from the breast but flesh from the bone.
    Flash-flash. Father shook the squares impatiently as you scooped chicken onto her plate. Finished, your daughter smiled her awkward smile, which filled you with a blend of joy and ache. You smiled as well though your breasts swelled and ached. Father rushed out of the room to paste the budding pictures in the egg-white pages of his album.
    Hungering, you daughter ran her tongue along the plate then tested her new tools, clinking them against the spoons and splintering the wood of the table. Father opened up his paper again.
    The next day she tested your makeup, smearing it around her lips and onto her smile, then snuck out of the house with your nice blue shoes. She kept you up for hours wondering what rotten boy was running his tongue along those perfect teeth. You sat in the green chair facing the door and furrowed your brow. But when she came back she only laughed and told you she had done nothing bad.
    Soon your daughter left for good, taking the things you had bought her and calling on the weekends when she could. You were proud and mentioned her at parties to your friends.
    And when your breasts hung low, the house was empty and you lay in bed with your whole body pulsing like a toothache, she was there. Father was gone, the pages were yellow, but she was there holding your hand and towering over you with her giant, giant smile.



About the author:
Lincoln Michel is a young writer whose work appears in journals such as Quick Fiction, Pindeldyboz, Quarter After Eight and Mississippi Review. He keeps an infrequently updated lit blog at http://lincolnmm.blogspot.com.



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