Poetry

Intermissions by David Estringel

Never fails,

folks always commenting on how young she looks,

with her big brown eyes,

plump face,

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,” 

they’d say—

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

and smiles,

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.

Stopping time—

another intermission—

as images and truths bubble and melt,

peeling away into the blankness of a white screen.

So, she just sits there, smiling away tears, 

thinking,

“The damned projector ate another one.”


Follow David on Twitter at @The_Booky_Man.

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