A Curious Exchange

I’m staring into the eyes of a man I don’t recognize.

He looks back at me, eyebrows raised.

His expression is cryptic, yet exuding empathy.

“Don’t you look at me like that”,

I threaten. “What do you care? I don’t need your help;

actually, I’d rather you left. Now.

I don’t depend on you, or what you represent. So just go.”

He gazes up at me with only a furrowed brow.

I compose myself, continuing to stare:

His pupils are open windows beckoning me 

to stick my numb head into their warm interior. 

Each line and shape his body projects is so geometric

I’m starting to notice why his face is so solemn, his features unyielding. 

He can’t run away as much as I can. I can avoid him, but he can’t escape me.


When we encounter, 

I am not who he tells me to be.

We play this game:

I introduce him to everyone I meet.

They shake hands- he smiles pleasantries.

But underneath his skin are colorful blooms itching to be viewed.

I can see them.

Strangers make judgement in regard to how he walks,

talks, and eats. Who he socializes with, 

the clothes he wears, the color of his hair,

the illusion of his face. 

I don’t make these distinctions

to me, they’re beyond negligible: he’s just a human being.

While It’s beyond our capacity to fully understand someone,

the bane of existence is living in our own heads.

Perhaps he and I can learn from each other.

My individuality no less than his, or anyone else’s. 

It could very well be that while I am looking at him, 

he is equally perplexed by me.

We’re suspended together in this spectral image

of a conscious mind questioning reality. 


This poem is about: 


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