when I was a child, or maybe a teenager
I spent several weeks on the waiting list
to see an orthodontist about my wonky teeth.

somewhere along this journey, near the end,
I think I called their office. I told them to cancel it.
I didn’t want to be the kid with braces.

my parents were angry about this
in a way that I didn’t understand
because I didn’t think about money or effort wasted.

and I wonder now if I was standing up
for my appearance, wonky teeth and all
or if I just didn’t want another reason

to be the kid everyone laughed at.

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