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Poetry Summer 2020

To the boy with the gap in his teeth

by Anastasia Sotiropoulos

To the boy with the gap in his teeth.
Woah, woah, woah — before I start, hear me out: I don’t ~do~ love poems. I don’t do poems that turn into love poems. Those make me sick. They’re sweet and soft and like diabetes-overflowing. Type 2. Not 1. Self-inflicted.
I’ve tried writing about everything but you, anything but you. I’ve tried writing about the way the sunlight hit the line of palm trees as I left the ER Monday after I fell off my bike, but when I think of a fall I think of you. Falling and falling and I’m falling for you. Ew.
I had to get stitches. After the fall, that is. “Laceration on the left leg,” the nurses said.
The L-word lines the inside of my mouth. L-O-WOAH. No. No. No. That word is familiar and soft and cozy — well I wouldn’t go as far as to say cozy, what’s the word… sticky?
Oh yes, sticky. Familiar and soft and sticky.

To the boy with a gap in his teeth.
When I fell in [~insert long pause here~] with you, it felt like the inside of a McDonald’s playhouse. You know the ones. The bright plastic with the pillowed floors and walls — soft edges — tempting colors. The ones you’d beg your parents to let you enter as a kid — salty fingers freshly licked, McFlurry in one hand, hope in another. They’re innocent. Familiar. Soft. But sticky.
Eventually, you grow up. You stop going, but I keep going to you, am I still falling for you? Ew.

To the boy with the gap in his teeth.
I don’t ~do~ love poems. I don’t do like poems. I don’t do poems — why the fuck am I here.
I’ve tried writing about everything but you, anything but you. Stitched-up Mondays and McDonald’s playhouses.
Our first kiss was in that McDonald’s parking lot. Sneakers propped up on dashboards, neon yellow glow, familiar and soft and not yet sticky.
Crumpled Juicy Fruit wrapper in one hand, hope in another, salty fingertips. Two minutes since your wingman “forgot his wallet inside,” I littered our silence with a, “Where do I spit my gum out?”
Familiar.
Soft.
“Why?”
“Uhhh… so I can kiss you?”
Sticky.
Diabetes sticky.

To the boy with the gap in his teeth.
I thought of you at the ER Monday. I thought of how you like the scar on my nose like I like the gap in your teeth. I thought of how maybe — just maybe — you’d like my new one.

Left leg laceration. Some L-words I can say.

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