When you had braces and couldn't kiss for toffee or eat it and your face was so thin I could feel the skull under there all holes; skin like the skin of a drum pulled tight over bone, the slow movement of your jaw the steady chew of it the horse and straw of it was a small wonder to me then; and steel and stone rested on row upon row of pearly whites. I pretended not to notice the bands at the sides the rubber holding us together a cat's cradle in your mouth the kiss itself in danger of being caught first one side, then the other. Or somewhere else. When I laughed my throat biscuit-dry my mouth thigh-wide your eyes held mine, smile faded to a line; straight and strong. My own teeth, tombstones wedged single file in my pretty pink gums.