Poem: Gap-Tooth

                                                            I can fit my finger in your smile

               and you could bite down                     and I’d be all pink gums

   and haven’t you heard of cavities

                       and the tooth mouse will come in the middle of the night

on alternate visits with the fairy—

                        they have an arrangement made after years of in-fighting

                                  between the Puerto Rican government and

                                                                                                     the president

            over tax benefits and the creation of the piña colada.

                                    The island got the incisors and canines.

                                                                               The mainland’s all molar.

You should smile more but you don’t because there’s something missing

                        that everyone else seems to have, all rigid lines like

                                                                                                    |  |  |  |  |  |  |

            so their tongues can hide their secrets.

                        I took my first tooth out when I was three, my last

                                                                                                     at age eighteen,

          accidentally, then on purpose,

                                                                                     alone, then with the help

                                    of opioids and gas and a sharp little knife

            and I bled                    because I don’t floss

                                    after years of little cages telling my mouth

what to do                 what to feel                 how to look             what to hide

                                                      all of the above—

I rinse my mouth with salt and lemon

                                                and laugh with open jaws.