My friend Tanika is around 25—

more like exactly a quarter century—

and she says she was born with a silver heart.

That ain’t nothin’ declares Elijah

who says he was born with a gold tooth.

He’s 80—more or less.

She says a gold tooth can fall out

and then what do you got?


He says then the tooth fairy

will pitch it up to shine

among fairy stars that will sparkle

from heaven and reach down to

tickle his mouth until

he can’t help but grin and be happy.

Gold teeth be forever

whether inside or out.

He flashes a smile.

Tanika says some people are born

with a silver spoon but

thieves can steal silver spoons and then

there’s nothin’ left and then you gotta

stir your coffee with your fingers.

No one can swipe my silver heart she says.

It can tarnish with bad hurtin’ air and meanness

but I just rub it

polish it

shine it until folks that fling darts

are blinded.

And you can reflect on that, Elijah.

He threw a smile aimed at her silver heart

and it came back brighter in its reflection.

© Bonnie Schupp

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