The Wolf Indicator

Photo by Alexander Kovalev on

by Jacqueline Berger

issue 76

A good man avoids
the no-fly zone
of a daughter’s body.
That leaves arms and hair 
and feet and back and shoulders and knees
and calves and ankles. 
He’s been dead for a decade
and you still can’t put into words, 
can’t or won’t,
but today the new hygienist, 
young, gay, fresh from training,
really wants to talk
about your teeth.
So now you’re telling 
the story of the fang.
Thirteen when it arrived, 
its brief reign 
between appearance and correction.
A latent fierceness
otherwise unexpressed,
how you continue the story
to yourself on the train.
Eighteen when you finally told 
your father to stop.
Though really, the problem
was you were a girl
who couldn’t stand to be touched,
it seems you were like that
even as a baby. 
You don’t remember
which tooth was the fang,
though you do remember headgear, the ache
when the orthodontist deepened
the pressure with hooks and bands. 
Look, you showed the hygienist,
you still have your wisdom teeth.
Which is something not many can say.