My Horse
Sun & Moon Press, 1993
Levine’s first story collection and PEN/West Award winner from the PEN USA Center.
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excerpt from “My Horse”

He was usually comfortable, and lived in this way, and had little disturbance in his life, and so, living as he did, as he had these forty years, it seemed necessary to have the molar removed, as it was dark, too dark, for a tooth, and thus suspect. It was a disturbing thing, he thought, but surely in, say, two weeks’ time, the tooth would be taken care of and other thoughts would replace these thoughts of the tooth. The tooth had gone dark over a period of some time, and now he had finally shown it to his father, at which point all suspicions had been confirmed: the tooth needed to be either removed or treated immediately. He had waited six weeks to show the tooth to his father but on this night it became too much, too disturbing; the thought of this molar pounded his head with fear; he came out of his room and showed it, unable to keep it to himself any longer. The father, sitting in his chair, reddened instantly in a silent panic upon seeing the black tooth in the son’s open mouth and reached for the telephone receiver in order to call a specialist. Yet it was Friday evening, a difficult time to reach a doctor and the only reason in the first place that the father had been in his chair trying to relax instead of sitting in the locked utility room, attending to paperwork.