Oxygen Tank


by Jon Sindell

There’s a raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth, which is why I can’t die — though god and my heirs maybe think that I should.

It’s been in the tooth since I was … what, forty-five? Which means she was … what, twenty-one? Twenty-three? Oh, my math mind is shot. Whenever it was, when I noticed, it was like Hemingway said, you go bankrupt two ways: gradually, then suddenly. You fall out of a building, and it’s nothing, then splat. And this thing happened gradually, then hit me, and splat. The words had gone from her, that sweet little phrase. And I quit smoking right off in case I might need to stay alive many years to hear it again. Quit cold turkey, like the tough little jarhead I was at eighteen, wading onto the beach at Tarawa Atoll, friends dying next to me in the surf…

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