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The Contract : Between Your Pride And My Smile

One, two, three.

Look at me, they say

hands full of lines, desperately—

— claiming the ages of passing

Lowering their eyelashes,

a blatant look of uncertainty.

Yet shadows are already there,

Painting their skin.

Four, five, six.

Look at me, he says

Fabric of his shirt is creasing.

He is exceeding authority

Almost I dare mutter, babbling.

Seven, eight, nine.

Look at me, she says

Lipstick on her lips, clumping

And it is a bright red,

I find it somewhat clumsy.

When she glares at me

Her chest is heaving

Panting, eyes full of veins

Bleeding.

Zero.

You once mentioned, I say

Eyes are the windows of the soul

Yet I don’t understand

Why would I need to glimpse at your soul

Where I am no god —

— nor have the power of swaying,

claiming,

and clawing at your existence.

I don’t understand why I need to see your soul —

— when I can watch your demeanor,

when I can match your profile

with the hints of your living.

On your own skin,

on your clothin’,

on your being.

I don’t understand, I say

Why would I need your soul

when I can already see everything —

— or is it you,

who needs an assurance to find yourself

no less than me on an equal footing

Is it you,

who needs the desperate glimpse of my soul —

— to feel validated,

when you know it hurts my insides,

to make this contact

where I lay my stomach open

all to be seen,

all to be beaten,

all to be full of damages of your own doing.

Null.

Is it your pride that is more valuable than my smile,

or is it that I am less than you —

— in the confines of your own ill-mannered mind?