birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

A Little Wiggle

What is that in my mouth? A little bump, a canker, a popcorn kernel gone rogue? I open my mouth and stare into the mirror to investigate. I rub my index finger along the tender gum line to find the painful area. Is that a string? Wait, maybe a broken off piece of floss? I pinch it between my fingernails and gently pull it down the edge of my tooth, the molar slightly wiggles. The string pulls out in ripples, like the unweaving of a paper bag that is stitched close. After each bump in the ripple a tooth falls onto my tongue. Before I know it all my teeth are filling my mouth, I spit all my teeth into my hand and they are covered in bright runny blood.

This is the more graphic version of this reoccurring dream, but it's always my teeth falling out. Dream interpretation books say this is a fear of change. My conscious self has no fear of change, in fact, I always enjoyed change. My conscious self does have a fear of my teeth falling out, so I am sticking with that.

I have several other types of anxiety dreams and it usually transports me back to a very anxious time, that was graduate school. My thesis is never done, I forgot to go to a class all semester, etc. When I wake from one of those dreams, my conscious self knows I finished my thesis and I am no longer in grad school. When I dream of my teeth falling out my conscious self does not know that my teeth can't yet fall out.


Domino Effect