until the end has slickened to a sharp
edge and you have cut your mouth
over and over in search of residual
sweetness. Red dripping chins;
I do not know syrup from
The park is stiff with new
cold. Your mittens hang like ruby rags
from their clasp on your coat.
Eating junk food on the bench, a dying
wasp creeps in your straw, stings
your lips, over and over; you cry
until dad pries the stinger from
The dental students say
one tooth wants to come out.
You shrug, brave apprehension
crinkling your rosy, round cheeks,
for the first time losing fat. You leave
the office, three milk teeth in a
ziplock bag, gauze cottoning the wound
in your young jaw. Your face is swollen
but you smile at me,
over and over.
Arah Ko is an English Major in the Chicago area. When not writing, she can be found frequenting open mic nights, explaining her name pronunciation to coffee shop baristas, and contemplating the meaning of life, other than 42.