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
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.