i don’t want white teeth

i don’t want white teeth stacked like unwritten pages on shelves i couldn’t reach, my mouth filled with empty volumes of what could’ve been

i don’t want white teeth untouched by the color of languages i don’t speak, that don’t make way for coffee, chatter in ice cream, or meet nights so long they’re not scrubbed clean of the day before sleep

i don’t want white teeth so proud to be seen they never hide, never tucked to rest while a voice rebuilds and someone better is designed

i don’t want white teeth with no cracks, like apartment walls i can’t paint, that let through sounds but not stories, that trap canaries and muffle cries about the trouble i’ve seen

i don’t want white teeth that don’t shake to the root when i sing without fear, that strangle air when i whistle a verse that shakes me

i don’t want white teeth that shine bright like a diamond with no memories of what it cost me to afford them, that don’t know the beauty in decay til it’s too late

i don’t want white teeth glossy as fortune i didn’t inherit or fool’s gold i can’t leave behind

i don’t want white teeth so numb

i don’t want white teeth that aren’t mine

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