Teeth

I have heard more               than one
identical story            of immigrants
being told to get        all their teeth

pulled out before coming      to America
My friend wrote      in her memoir about
her father, an eye doctor        who had 

all his teeth taken out   before he came
to the States           My mother-in-law
did the same thing         at the advice 

of her friend, before         she joined 
my father-in-law              in Chicago
Because in America      the men who look 

into your mouth to fix        your teeth
will take away   your money, leaving you
nothing to save or feed    your children

In America           in the waiting room 
of the dental clinic          a magazine
lies open at an article        Its first

sentence reads        The third strongest
feature of an American        identity is
having good teeth           I want to ask 

what the hell   are the first and second?
 

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