I’m trailing home behind mum’s feet,
A surly hamster with cotton wool cheeks,
Blood blossoming, face numb,
Metallic taste on anaesthetised tongue.
I have been all too good
And brushed as hard as a good girl should.
I’ve kept too many to fit my face,
Earning four teeth pulled and a lovely brace.
One, two, three, four, out they all came,
The bone-crack splinter-shriek engraved on my brain.
The feet ahead slow, and mum turns to her child:
“Now come along Caroline, you could at least smile.”