Page 174: Teeth by Tamar Lapin

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
brown.

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
scrub
floss
rinse and repeat
but some persistent stains remain.

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