Postcard #42: A Smile Peeks Out

You know what?
The most beautiful thing happened to me today,
I saw your face in my reflection looking back at me
out of the corner of my eyes, a shine like no other —

a smile I can’t help but recognize, wrinkles at the corners of my lips
from where the line of my mouth is forever crooked,
in the way a front porch of an old home is bent
under the weight of many past guests over years of parties
and even the way I hold myself together is the way
you taught me how to hold a sword, how I hold my books,
how friends hold hands, how I lift my chin when I speak
even how I hold my back straight, and when I do battle as I dance —
The most beautiful things peek out of me all the time,
at times when I least recognize them, automatic, like machine
like nature, like clock work working chiming ticking the time
in the ways I climb and walk, the little ways in the way
a whisper of you is in how I giggle and talk
shadows of you tickle throughout my thoughts
I cannot erase any bit of you, even if you paid me to
make a map of my mind and lots of you are so easy to find
The most ugly thing I ever attempted was to cover all this up,
I tried to hide you, clear you out of my sight,
punish myself for every like of you, and
banish you to ghost, leaving no souvenirs behind
traces of you were too numerous, I could not succeed
you have been tattooed inside me, like brilliant graffiti
in exotic colors, too vivid to lie hidden, and like flowers —
the more dirt I put them in, the more they bloom, bloom, BLOOM again!
So, you know what now?
I am the most beautiful woman today — all because I knew you
and you never really left me alone, because there you are
in my face all along…
this face is older, wiser, the eyes darker, ‘specially underneath
and tear-traced are the cheeks, and yet I dare shine
through all this dullness and age, I feel I am a prize
I am the smile I cannot keep to myself
not always because of you
but because of how I love and
the way I love you must also be
the way I have to love me.

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