A Gift to the World From the Dentist’s Chair

Yesterday
I lay
In the dentist chair
Left side of my face numbed
Feet crossed
One over the other
At the far end of tensed legs
My left hand covered my right
Resting on my stomach
Clenched tight

The right side of my lip
Was pulled down
Over the small vacuum tube
That rested in my mouth
To suck out saliva and blood
And the tiny pieces of hardened grit
That shouldn’t be
On my teeth

I saw her masked face
Loom close over my own
I saw the small round mirror
In one hand
And some fearsome medieval
Instrument of torture
Surely
In the other

I called to my breath
Breathe in calm
Breathe out anxiety
Breathe in cooperation
Breathe out resistance
Breathe in relax
Breathe out tense
In relax
Out tense
In
Out
In
Out

Wait, I thought,
Do I really want to breathe
My anxiety, my resistance, my tension
Out into the world?
Doesn’t the world have enough
Of its own
Already?

Perhaps I should pray
Let my anxiety
My resistance
My tension
Be a small sacrifice
For the world’s sake
No crown of thorns
No nails into a wooden cross
But perhaps a little death
A tiny death
Of the expectation of well-being
Let me give the well-being I seek
To the world
Just for this hour or so
Maybe
Breathe with the anxiety
Let calm be
Breathe with the resistance
Let cooperation be
Breathe with the tension
Let relax be

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