Two Front Teeth
When did I learn to smile for photographs?
When did this expressionless urchin up to
her ankles in a yard flooded with hose water,
eyes on the camera man,
lurch into a broad bright-toothed girl?
As beaver teeth devoured baby teeth,
my tongue resisting its enamel encasement,
my words spilling through shifting cracks,
at what point did I turn to my mother and say,
This doesn’t feel natural, teach me how to smile?
When did she demonstrate that, for a camera,
you will perch on a chair uneasily,
tie your hair back until it pinches,
hold your breath and body still?
And when did I discover that for a picture,
even beasts gather together for the feast.
Ani Keaten is a poet grown in the desert mountains of Idaho. She writes about daily life. www.anikeaten.weebly.com