My loves are like my teeth:
They stay in my mouth
A pretty smile
of two neat rows
of colors ranging
from after-the-dentist white
to coffee and cigarette stained
Straightened by braces at age fourteen
the retainers stayed stuck beneath.
At eighteen, one shifted in its spot,
turning slightly in broad view.
I tried to hide its crookedness
behind a red painted smile.
A girl once told me,
“My teeth are a spectrum.”
I spit back,
“How nice that must be.”
Now, I always make sure to
rinse and repeat
but some persistent stains remain.