• Fearsome Critters

Kissing with Braces — Joseph Serpico

Pimples poke from skin like hard nipples through

a t-shirt. Slick palms with skinny fingers try to

seek solace in grinding against themselves.

As you dance, awkward sixteen

year old me stands quiet in the closet.


My mom tied my bow tie too tight

and my dad’s button up was too loose,

but I combed my short, greasy hair

while you walked across the dance floor.


Overtime, the disco ball changed to strobe lights,

the punch bowl was just a glass with vodka in it.

When I tried to speak, my braces cut

the inside of my cheek so my words made

me sound drunker than I actually was.


Though we were twenty-seven in this scene,

when you are queer you are always just sixteen.