When Strangers Ask

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She’s more than a morning coffee

drinker, more than her function as

office confidante, more yet than

the colour of her eyes or skin.

.

Birth stones and birth order and birth

marks are but petals to her rose,

characteristics folded deep,

convoluted lines and colours

which add or detract from beauty.

.

Shoe size and predisposition

to diabetes, scars hammered

in where wobbly knees met gravel,

violin lessons on rainy

afternoons, the desire to dance –

ruffled layers all, a goldfinch

singing from hidden willow perch.

 .

I see her there, can count petals,

classify by botanical

name – yet, in calculating sums,

have I arrived at her spirit?

.

Do I know where she goes at night

when skeletal remains escape

closeted fears, or of whom she

dreams when her conversation flags,

eyes traversing galaxies hung

somewhere behind my left shoulder?

.

Fingers cannot touch the places

she’s been, nor trace the subtle curves

where geological process

has altered her surface features.

.

I see her there, can count petals,

compare tints to a hardware store

strip, watch as they shift before

sun and shadow – and when strangers

ask if I know her, I say no.

 

A Peel Like Yours

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A peel like yours

leaves nothing to the

imagination. It reveals

your soul-shape,

what you wear

under your game face

on market day. My

heart sees underneath,

to the freshly squeezed

fruit, the way you

drip with flavour

and leach nutrition

and satisfy my

thirst for

transparency.