I wonder where all the smiles
on these dimly recalled faces went.
There are a few in the faded photos,
the images captured like flat
little soldiers, giving up little more
than name, age and library card number.
I wonder about the other smiles, too.
Are they still shining as they do
on the glossy paper, all bright
and earnest, full of teeth seeking
to latch onto a new happy moment
and never let go?
It’s a painful thing to recall
when my smiles came so easily,
unforced, symmetrical, strung
like festive bunting from
cheek to cheek. when each day
was something to be celebrated,
rather than endured.
But it’s even more painful to realize
the world must endure today’s awkward,
worry-fissured face, the one that lost
so much smile that even half a grimace
is celebrated by those who’ll grin
and clap me on the back because
they still remember.
Poem Number 16 in Poem-A-Day NaPoWriMo 2016. As usual, it just happened when I sat to the blank page, no forethought, a teaspoon of remorse.