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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Margaret Chula

Shark’s Tooth

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