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Snow-White Teeth in Dartmouth, The Visitors, & Sestina With Teeth Expanding Like A Lie

Kenton K. Yee



An old man lives inside my mirror.
Get out! I shout. He shouts it back.

I rinse my teeth. He opens his mouth 
and snaps it in place. I splash my face,

he dabs his lips. I wipe my chin 
and fetch a comb. He combs his scalp

and turns away. I click the lights and 
shut the door. It’s my life he lives and

likes, flashing my smile and chewing 
my sausages while I gum oatmeal.



You’re a tight-lipped shark 
with youthful rows of teeth—
if only they’d install your dentures.

Your lips are blue, your sunken chest 
cries, Don’t leave me like this!
even as your gums can’t move.

Should I get his teeth from the car? 
says your daughter’s husband.

Don’t bother, says your daughter. 
They’re going to sew his lips together.




“Lees left this note.” 
“Took his own life?” 
“Yeah, come take his... white flies!” 
“Suicide? How so?” 
“Dunno—too fast.”

“Dicks are on the way. Hold fast. 
Don’t touch a thing. Put the note 
back where you found it so 
everything’s as when he was alive.” 
“Teeth everywhere. Teeth, like flies, 
are swarming his head. Please take

the mess away. I’m here to cook and clean not to undertake 
his . . . other affairs.”  “Go on.”  “Lees was eating breakfast— 
no bones nor crunchy fruit that would snap teeth off like flies. 
He eats alone, no family nor friends—whatever that connotes.
I was going to refill his coffee and found the lowlife’s 
face on his plate and teeth swarming the place. And also

that note under his saucer.”  “Lowlife?”  “Don’t get me started.”  “So  
did you see an intruder? Hear gunshots?”  “No, I’d made him a shiitake 
mushroom omelette and was cleaning up the kitchen, watching Life- 
time. Went to refill his coffee. That’s when I found—”  “Not so fast!
When you first saw him, what’d ya do? Shriek? Run? Read the note?” 
“Spilled the coffee—burnt myself. Never saw so many teeth like flies—

his head was a hive of teeth! Ran to get my phone in the foyer. Teeth sure flies 
when you’re calling 9-1-1. The dispatcher told me to wait outside the house.”  “So
the teeth and a gunman weren’t enough to scare you outside?”  “No, I’d read the note 
and knew it was suicide. Any gunman would’ve shot me already.”  “Then what? Take
it slow.”  “A uniform came, told me to stay put. He went inside and came back out fast, 
running to his cruiser to radio for help. Then you came.”    Now the lab-coated life

will come with cameras and tweezers. Greta crumples the note, her teeth chattering like flies.
If her story doesn’t jive with the forensics, she’s facing life. She bit Lees to death a week ago, so 
the details must take into account her toothmarks and a week of decay. She’d better think fast.


Kenton K. Yee’s poems appear (or will soon) in Plume Poetry, Threepenny Review, Sugar House Review, TAB Journal, I-70 Review, Hawaii Pacific Review,, Delta Poetry Review, Invisible City, Indianapolis Review, Strange Horizons, and Rattle, among others. An LSU (Baton Rouge) alumnus, Kenton writes from Northern California.