I don’t know how to let you go.”
The first month my ex kisses another woman, full of tongue in plain sight,
I get the first tattoo. In the days when the tooth fairy was still real,
I collected eye teeth from shark museum gift shops
and strung them from my windowsill like a windchime.
They sang in the night like piano keys.
Today, the only other mouth that serenades me
is my own and the fresh wound on my skin
where the tattoo artist put the ink in.
The second month he goes to bed with her for the first time,
I fill in my left sleeve with dragons and tongues of fire.
Now, every night when I sleep alone while he’s in someone else’s arms,
my own are lit up with flame,
reminding me how the absence of love hurts like the needle
but eventually the wound heals and the design takes over.
The third month he gives her the ring that was meant for me,
I visit the tattoo salon again.
If we weren’t able to be permanent,
at least now I have something that will.
And tonight I sleep soundly for the first time in a long time,
all 32 of his teeth chiming softly outside my window.