Her surgical mask,
a dull blue beneath eyes
the color of broken windshield glass
or the topaz of my favorite ring.
Reclined in the orthodontist chair,
I examine her crystalline irises
while she tightens my braces
and hums along to Johnny Rivers.
I squirm at her nearness, hyperaware
of my blemished skin and bad haircut.
I imagine she has the perfect life:
doting husband, obedient children.
At my age, she must have been
a cheerleader, homecoming queen.
Her gaze meets mine. Fine lines
bracket her eyes as she smiles.
She is blind to the neon sign
above my head blinking
“Love me, love me.” She is
oblivious to my rotten apple heart.