Where are the teeth I slipped under my pillow?
by Jackie Craven

For every loss, a coin
embossed with the pained profile
of George Washington, lips stretched tight
over his own dental misfortunes.
Hardly a fair exchange.

It would take a fleet of fairies
to flit from child to child
carting sacks of silver
and a million molars
rattling like tiny skulls. Or
a mother with a talent
for keeping secrets.

I expected to find 20 jagged bits
of me in her keepsake drawer,
along with shards of china, a lock
of hair, a lover’s letter. She hid
them well, or lost them,
the way she lost eyesight, appetite,
and the names of flowers.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at eight  hiding what’s missing behind an uncertain smile.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I believed in the tooth fairy longer than most children, and was usually quite happy to yank out pieces of myself in exchange for a visit. The mystery! The excitement! Today I get a similar thrill from writing poetry, but the monetary rewards are usually less.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Craven has poems published in New Ohio Review, Nimrod, River Styx, Salamander, Water~Stone Review, and other journals. Her 2016 chapbook, Our Lives Became Unmanageable, won the Fabulist Fiction award from Omnidawn. She works as journalist covering architecture, literature, and the arts. Visit her at or on Facebook at JackieCravenWrites.