My smile is a gift, not an obligation.
My heart is a sovereign nation,
And if I choose to let it break,
Please do not demand the sparkle in my eye,
The blush in my cheeks,
My windchime laugh.
My happiness is not owed to you.
I cannot float simply so those around me do not sink,
I am not a life ring.
I ask of you,
Let my stormy waves rock your boat.
Stand in my icy rain and feel it hit your face like a thousand little daggers,
And dance in it.
Hold your hands up to my sky and say,
“Let it come”.
“You aren’t smiling today,” my friend says to me, waiting for his sandwich.
I think of the man in the bar near my house who said to me, “You’re too pretty not to smile,” and then tucked my hair behind my ear as if I had asked him to, as if we knew one another.
As if my body was public space.
“You’re right,” I say.
He looks at me with something between confusion and wonder, and just then,
I feel us both stare into my gathering clouds,