Growing Pains

As a kid,

I used to chew my straw
into a plastic pulp,
a frayed sprawling flag
to mark my dominion
above juice boxes
or chocolate milks or
various vibrant-colored
hummingbird syrups.

But now, chomping down hard
on my stainless steel, eco-friendly,
dishwasher-safe reusable straw,
a sharp pain buzzes
up my incisors into cheekbone,
the sip of iced americano—black–
bitter, cold, and a little bit acidic.

Difficult to swallow.

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