When I was seventeen, I was given a shark’s tooth. Shy and naïve, I was
wary of men, especially the Puerto Rican fisherman. Put this under your
pillow, he said, leering at my small breasts and golden hair, and you’ll
dream about your lover. I had no lover, so I gave it a try.
I tried not to think about the killer shark that it had come from – the
provenance of blood and gore and ragged flesh. Or how the fisherman
had severed it from the shark’s jaw. No romance there.
I told no one about the tooth, especially Mother who hated dirty things,
like the animal bones and skulls I’d brought home as a child. I tucked
my good luck charm into a velvet pouch under my pillow and sprinkled
talcum powder inside the pillowcase as I’d seen Mother do when she
wanted sweet dreams.
Mother found it one day while changing the sheets. What’s inside the
bag? she asked, but I knew she had already looked. Without a word,
I dug a hole in the back yard and buried the shark’s tooth.
Chinese fortune cookie:
You will find your true love
crumbles in my hand