Kate Garklavs

Borrowed teeth

A dog with a human name is charming — an anomaly — but a dog with human teeth is quite the different story. Aberrant, we say, creating strong unease: repulsion, even. As a species, we are not prepared to see our features replicated elsewhere, believe identifiers can be rent from selves. Out of context, we say. Once I found a dog who smiled with baby teeth, wide spaced and nearly translucent. Though I was gripped by horror, I couldn’t walk away. Its fur was eggplant dark, thick and oily in the August sun. Its blue eyes implored my attention. I could have stayed had it closed its mouth, but it was panting in the high heat, showing the grotesqueness of its borrowed teeth. I had access to water and a bowl — I could easily have solved the problem — but I chose to walk away, leaving the uncanny flash of my former smile on the baked sidewalk behind me.


Kate Garklavs lives and works in Portland, OR. Her work has appeared in Juked, NOO Journal, Tammy, and The Airgonaut, among other places. She earned her MFA at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her first chapbook (“Diffusely Yours”) was published by Bottlecap Press in August 2018.



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