Mark Reep is wandering lost roads

Lost Roads



I’m reading about lost Roman roads in a
back issue of Smithsonian when a man and a woman come into the waiting
room.  She’s sixtyish, her hair an
unconvincing auburn; his hair and beard are an honest white, but his face less
lined than hers, and I wonder if he’s her husband, or her son.  She tells the receptionist his name,
takes a clipboard, sits down beside him to fill out forms. When was your last
dental visit? she says.  He thinks
about it, shakes his head slowly. 
Five years? she says.  He
nods, probably, okay.  He’s wearing
clean jeans, a long-sleeved denim workshirt with the wrists buttoned.  He’s not tall, not fat, just thick,
like he’s laid a lot of block, had a few beers most nights for awhile.  Do your gums bleed? she says.  He stares out the window.  Nods.  She looks up from the clipboard.  Honey, I can’t hear you when you shake your head, she
says.  He nods again.  His eyes are empty.  She checks something on the clipboard.  What is your general dental health? she
says.  He’s silent, nearly
motionless, but his thick white hands slowly open, close.  Your dental health, she says again:
Poor?  He nods.  I look away, leaf through the
Smithsonian.  Are you happy, she
says, with your smile?

* Mark Reep's work has appeared in IS&T, Gloom Cupboard, American Art Collector, Endicott Journal, Word Riot. He lives in New York's Fingerlakes region. His website is

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