Stringy Cheese, Smiling Teeth

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I.

Pineapple and ham pizza
with extra cheese

was the first that tempted me
to reach for an extra slice

with Parmesan cheese
packets sprinkled on

and a dash of red pepper
just to make my father stop

telling me
to try it a new way

II.

Then the pepperoni
and extra cheese classic

in extra large
for delicious leftovers,

or the single slice
on a paper plate with red stripes

from our junior high cafeteria,
delivered hot by my friend

so I didn't have to worry
about bumping into people in line

III.

The obstinate refusal
of changing my toppings;

The chronic fear
of standing in swathes

of prepubescent
classmates for a few bites;

and love warming the heart
clamped in depression's vice

when my friend again
gifted me with pizza's grace;

IV.

Now I order pizza with garlic,
pepperoni and pineapple

through Uber Eats,
then I add my own peppers—

Carmen or Anaheim chilis
sliced thin from the garden—

and I taste the greasy memories
of my father, my school friend,

through stringy cheese
hanging from my smiling teeth.

♥️
Author's Note

According to WattFest , October is Pizza Month.

Read more about it here:
https://my.w.tt/JRkm3cLyDQ

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