Face Petunia

Face Petunia

So many faces
smile, smirk and avoid mine
that sometimes I take them all
as one big hello!
So I return the gesture
with the added bonus of:
“Peace Concert Saturday night”,
and that is when they all
break apart into the various pieces
of the human jigsaw puzzle.

Perhaps it would mean nothing to me
if it weren’t for the fact that
I am holding out to them
a delicate flower – fragrant,
tender and as fragile as my confidence.

So when they receive this flower
with a careful touch and an open heart
I become a superstructure of strength
built by these kind eyes and gentle smiles.

But when they set their eyes
- fixed somewhere beyond me –
or purse their lips, puckering their
face into disapproval or shake their
head “no”, refusing to condescend,
or even walk twenty paces around me
on a detour to avoid the plague;
I begin to falter, and when they start
barking or glaring or swiping in disgust
this tiny flower, crushed under foot
by calloused eyes I unpeel myself
from the concrete and slowly reshape myself
into a three-dimensional human being
- no more than two inches of towering insecurity.

But just as a face transforms into a smile
from sour, again the miracle of a new
flower arrives in my hand,
distracting me enough with wonder
that I forget my size and unabashedly
want to share it with another complexion
and am transformed directly by that face
in an endless offering to unknown eyes,
unseen lives, bobbing, rushing, weaving
towards me, so many pieces of the human puzzle
woven together into the tapestry of some
unfathomable reality, represented, embodied
perfected in this untroubled unchangeable flower.

– Prabhakar.


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