I Found Your Tooth in My Garden | by Caroline Mao

I found your tooth in my garden. It had rained the day before, and the soil made wet squelching noises under my boots as I crouched to fish it out from where it lay half-buried beneath my hydrangea bush. It was worn and chipped, a little yellowed, and covered with flecks of mud.

I took it into my kitchen and washed it carefully, as I might have with the hair of a lover. I placed it onto my favorite hand towel by the window, the rosy pink one I’d bought the day I realized you were gone forever. I brewed myself a mug of tea, and my dog, Eun Mi, came to rest by my side, placing her head in my lap.

I wondered what to do with your tooth. It had been nearly a year since we left each other, and if I had found your tooth six months earlier, I might have hunted down some salt and asphodel, and sprinkled it on your tooth before burning it on my doorstep. That would have been a good revenge. I would have woken up the next morning with my pillow soaked in red, and gotten up to shower with grim satisfaction, watching your blood swirl down the drain.

Eun Mi climbed into my lap, sniffing my mug of tea, and as I stroked her head, I found I no longer wanted vengeance.

With the same hands that once touched your cheek, I placed your tooth—small, white, glittering in the sunlight like a pearl—into a cup and filled it with water. It sprouted a few hours later into something the color of your eyes, which I had nearly forgotten. It began to sing.



Caroline Mao is a writer and student at Mount Holyoke College who enjoys fiction of all kinds, post-19th century art, and smiling at every dog she sees. Her Twitter is @northcarolines.

Posted In: