A Smile for the Last Roundup

You asked me to smile and
the twisted expression with which
I answered disappointed all concerned.
The failing smily guy within this
punkin head then boards up these
windows to my soul like a derelict house.
Photographic proof exists that smiles,
like bison, once roamed my stubbled planes.
But most look faded and could portray
any ticklish dark-haired kid who
thought life was worth at least a grin.

That was before the years marked their
passage through this troubled territory,
slashing wrinkles from my scorched-earth
hairline to these gravity-submissive chins.
Occasionally, though, when no one’s watching,
miracles happen where the nerves align
with the stars and muscles fire in a
memory of when we’d make hobby-horse rockers
of our lips and ride them, like children,
toward one another in a roundup of joy.

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