folks always commenting on how young she looks,
with her big brown eyes,
and rosy cheeks.
“So beautiful,” they’d say to her—at her, really—
as if placating a child with sweets to solicit a smile.
“You don’t look your age. So beautiful,”
a hint of a blush now bellowing its credo
from beneath a crown of majestic silver
and plastic drugstore hair combs.
Moments like those made her uncomfortable.
Perhaps, she couldn’t take a compliment
or, maybe, such talk—about how well she was preserved—
made her think a deer head mounted on a wall
or an excavated soul, frozen in time
under the precipitant weight of a life long gone.
All you can do is smile
when the words don’t come,
when your outside
doesn’t jive with what’s happening within.
So, she just sits there in her hospital bed
replaying old stories in her head,
sepia-toned, laden with scratches,
the plots ever-changing with every warp
and curl of the film.
But, the gears are rusty. They catch and stick,
stopping motion and sound.
as images and truths bubble and melt,
peeling away into the blankness of a white screen.
So, she just sits there, smiling away tears,
“The damned projector ate another one.”
Follow David on Twitter at @The_Booky_Man.
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