Dear John

While waiting for you
to grease a neglected chain,
I chipped my front tooth
on the hard plastic lip of a water bottle.
Oh, then I hated you.
I spit the shard of my enamel
onto the driveway
and kept my mouth shut.

I was born with the potential
for that tooth!—
back in the silent times
before signs took root
before the world held
nothing, nothing, nothing.
I could weave straw
into baskets or gold
and either would be a better use
for what is now on your driveway.

We test each other,
man and woman—
and I could never love
a man whose bike
needs a kickstand.