First time I ever went on a carnival ride I chipped my newly-grown front teeth

on the pavement after I got off, dizzy

spent three years with a jagged grin before the dentist added

fake white gunk to fill in the gap

and smooth over my smile

(I can still feel a rough little bump where my tongue hits the back of those teeth, a reminder

of what got lost and fixed up)

First time I read a poem to total strangers

my heart kept accompaniment inside my ribcage, like some beatnik’s drum rhythm

a little off-beat

sitting in a basement classroom with fluorescent lights

I let the words wash over me until I wasn’t

scared anymore,

not as scared any

more by the sound of my own voice

just wish it was sort of stronger sometimes instead of breaking

First time I kissed someone and really meant it

thought I was on top of the world that night, grinning like sin

and I didn’t even care who saw me or what

they might think. boy was I hopeless…

and when was the first time you saw

a thunderstorm on the inside curtain of your eyelids, knew the time had come

for last stands and great expectations? awaken from

your dreamlike sleep and listen to what your fingers

and teeth and breath have to say to you. the body knows better

than the mind sometimes, listen

there is a red shell behind my eyes