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Ripple Effect This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Three months of questionable orthodontia
Pried the Red Sea between my sister's
front teeth.

Tomato sauce, white lies, and oxygen flow through that rivulet,
but I'd imagine so too do the vibrations of Joplin solos as she gurgles
ragtime to her willing fingers,

along with the raucous outbursts of sixth grade recess,
clever requests for interest on her chore ­allowance,
and breakfast Cheerios,

A meaty sarcasm chews itself through that gap
as she scrutinizes basketball,
the cat,
and overzealous children's librarians,
in her quiet, under-the-breath ripple effect.

Licking their way through the crevice swim the Native American legends she loves so much,
and the salty tears that insisted eleven year olds still gave her leeway for teddy bears.

I'm convinced that cleft left her with extra oomph in blowing up the umpteenth ­balloon during the summer's circus phase,
just as clarinet rhythms ought to be easier with such a flooding embouchure.

Buffered by those ivory mountains hide
the trickling disappointments of lost
chess games,
soccer upsets,
and sibling dejection in the name of homework.

I know her little fissure reinforces the spunk of the sisterly smirk
she saves for me in church balconies,
bus rides,
and band concerts.

Oh, the subtle beauty of facial contortion, sneers, and mutual DNA.

She must slosh in her ravine during
math quizzes,
Girl Scouts,
and pretzel breaks,
dancing a salivary dance so endearing
and vile
she magnetizes a tiding love.

Another trip to that sterile office hub, a
few practiced braids with the dental wire,
a smile from the long-haired hygienist
and those life-confronting dentures will
find themselves in disappointedly
perfect ­geometry.

Bridged at last, they'll stand as two pearl fortresses against the spitting truths of
her tongue.

But no latex gloves can quench that
pulsing tide,

And I hope years from now she'll savor the eroded traces
Of her personal English Channel,

If only for the aftertaste.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Kiyoko This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm
This is FANTASTIC!  I think it's beautiful. You describe, with such certainty and specificity, the smallest, seemingly unimportant things. It's awesome. Keep writing, and check out my work?
MFrancik said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 7:17 pm
This is really fascinating! Your imagery and diction are so expansive, and the amount of thought you put into this poem really comes through. The ending is what I truly love about this though, especially your last sentence about savoring the traces if only for the aftertaste. Really nice job.
RitaChristine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm
This is pure genius. I love it. The unusual topic alone drew me in, and it inspires me to write about seemingly mundane or inconsequential things. Excellent use of metaphors, imagery, rhythm, word choice, enjambment... the list goes on. Keep writing - you have a talent to use and something to give. Bless you.
Mizz_Monroe said...
Jun. 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm
your not bad at all
ZiXiang Z. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm
wow. seriously kudos. you write some of the best poems I've seen on here. The elegant diction is impeccable. Please write more. GJ! :]
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