He drilled without novocaine, and I,
a young boy, knew no better.

One time, when I clamped shut my jaw,
my mother proclaimed that she
was so mad she could spit.

At eighteen, having found my own dentist,
I relaxed in the relative ease
of a numbed jaw.

Years after that,
in my dead father’s apartment,
I found the love letters Bigler
had written to my mother.