Apple & Bread drawing and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2012

I made this charcoal drawing a few weeks ago while taking a classical drawing class at the Garrison Art Center. Without Cyril, the subject of the following post, I would be able to eat only the bread.

To listen to this post, click here:SIX DENTAL THOUGHT PROBLEMS



1. Over several months in a prolonged bridge procedure, I learn the meaning of the word patient. Is there another role named for a virtue essential to it?

2. If my dentist were also a government, would I still think I should feel no pain? Would I insist on more novocaine, more gas? If teeth must be pulled, is there any way not to feel it? Not to miss the missing tooth?

3. Could I ever go without a visible tooth, as solidarity with those for whom dentistry is luxury?

4. Though no fault of my dentist, things have gone wrong with my bridge. Lab problems: color, fit.  A silver sliver of unporcelained metal. Gums so healthy they make his job difficult. My utmost patience has been required. Is there any useful alternative during reconstruction?

5. My dentist tells me about fixing broken banisters on his girlfriend’s deck. “It’s really just a great big mouth. But I can take a hammer to it if it doesn’t work, and there’s no ‘Excuse me, Mr. Wood.’” Has he had to be as patient as I have?

6. My dentist is an artist, sculpting tiny curves and planes no one but he and his assistant will ever see. Yet I feel his sculptures every day. He sculpts for feeling: the feeling of jaw and tongue, the natural bite, the blessed humble comfort of nothing out of place, though so much has disappeared and so much is newly fabricated. Who honors this artist? Who hands him prizes at what ceremonies? And can such care be taken by a group?


Any further questions? Any answers?

Intimate Furniture photo & all text © Irene O’Garden, 2012

To hear the spoken version, click Intimate Furniture


Spared the junk heap: a chest of drawers, a mirror and a lamp. Swaddled in plastic and cardboard, freighted cross-country to us at the request of my sensitive husband. Intimate furniture, this.

Chest with a delicate marquetry nosegay, lately relieved of my lonely sister’s glut of grim novelty outfits, she herself lately relieved of her loneliness, finally, now, at the memory home, where she sleeps in its matching nosegay bed, with the match to the crystal lamp.

Deeper in previous, chest, lamps and mirror: proud possessions of my namesake great aunt. The bureau: a home to her silk slips, society sweaters. Home to the pearls at the base of her goiter. Mirrored. Home of adornments and longing. Intimate furniture, this.

Sensing it now before purchase and lacquer: a cabinetmaker’s affair. Love of wood and of work spelled in matching veneers, glowing in torches of wood grain. Topped with the shapely frame he carved and bent, glue drying, til the day he slipped the glass in and beheld himself, maker of his own image.

One grieving day the bed and chest will reunite, the crystal lamps will find each other. The mirror gathers new faces in flashes, adjusting appearance, emotions. The chest receives the sift of peachy powder, the mustache clip, the sprouting gray. Intimate furniture. Every humble meaning, stored behind the glass, within the drawers, by the unconditional light of the crystal lamp.


Do you have a piece or two of intimate furniture?

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