THE ART OF MAKING ANGELS by Marilee Dahlman • Cleaver Magazine
I’ve seen two angels and both were named Reginald.The spirits appeared as a consequence of my life’s work: dentistry. I came by the profession naturally, as my father was a blacksmith in a small Missouri town. Before heading west, people needed help with their teeth as much as they needed wagon axles. And Pa was no butcher. As a child, time and time again, I witnessed his God’s gift with pliers.“Nice ‘n slick,” he’d mutter from the side of his mouth, one hand gripping a customer’s jaw, his other hand wielding the steel tool. I’d have both palms on the customer’s sweaty forehead, pinning the head back against the high-backed chair. Pa’s knuckles would whiten and I’d close my eyes tight. Seconds later, I’d hear the pebbly sound of a tooth hitting the concrete floor, and the rattle of the pliers landing on the workbench. I’d tilt the head to let the blood stream down the chin.