An Unanswered Letter – part 5 – Conclusion – a short story.

New York was still hot when I got there. I had timed myself to arrive by overnight bus so that I gave myself most of the day to find our meeting place on MacDougal. Of course I arrived early. I carried a small square travelling suitcase which I set upon the sidewalk and used as a seat. As I waited I watched the crowds on the sidewalk – the place teemed with activity. I marveled at the extraordinary mix of people with their unconventional clothing and seemingly carefree demeanors.

I saw Mike before he saw me, but I almost didn’t recognize him. Gone was the pale youth of our transatlantic passage. The young man I saw now was bronzed and muscular and exuded health and vitality. What a difference two and a half months had made! I stood up as he approached and greeted him unsure whether we should hug or shake hands. We indulged in a quick embrace which didn’t express any of my pent-up emotions. Mike was a little preoccupied because he had hoped that we could stay with Chris, one of his friends, in Greenwich Village. This friend turned out to be away on vacation; so, as it was getting late, we found a nearby hotel.

I shall always remember our approach to the reception desk. Mike asked about vacancies and when the clerk inquired whether we needed two rooms or one Mike turned to me. I quietly said, “Two rooms.” My motivation was driven by shame and anguish. I didn’t want Michael to discover my dark secret.

Yes, I had a dark secret. It was that, although I was twenty-one years old, I had still not reached menses. Yes, this is a medical anomaly, but is easily explained. My menses had been delayed by my long years of anorexia. By this time in my life I had overcome anorexia but the hormones of normal development had still not caught up. My chest was as flat as a boy’s although I disguised this fact by wearing a bra padded with bean bags. Of course I didn’t want Michael to discover my secret and, being premenstrual, I knew that I didn’t have the right hormones for intercourse. So here I was, a prim virgin, in the middle of Greenwich Village having to deny the man of my dreams. It was an act to hide a secret and an act which probably affected the direction of the rest of my life. I often wonder what would have happened if I had said, “One room.”

We didn’t spend long in the hotel and were soon out on the streets of Greenwich Village. Our walk was directionless as we wondered among the crowds on the street. Mike seemed to be perfectly at home in this sea of activity but I was unaccustomed to seeing so many unconventional people. We watched a spontaneous concert in Washington Square and eventually found a small restaurant where we ate. When we entered the restaurant Mike turned to me waiting for me to select a table. I looked at him. That is when he told me that American girls always select where they are to sit in a restaurant. It appeared to me that he did not like this custom but was determined to make me do likewise. I think that he liked making me choose, not because he approved of the arrangement, but because it amused him to see me doing so.

The following morning Mike called Barbara who had a flat on East 56th. She told him that she would willingly put us up and so we checked out of the hotel and made our way to her apartment. Barbara impressed me immensely with her long blonde hair and elegant thin body. I got the distinct impression that she disapproved of our liaison as she hardly spoke a word to me. I even wondered if she had one been one of Mike’s girlfriends, for her distaste was undisguised. I soon discovered that she worked for Time Life Magazine and had aspirations of becoming a novelist. She made us laugh with her descriptions of life on the magazine which centered on cutting, cutting and more cutting. She explained that this is the key to good writing.

Mike spent the next two days whisking me around New York. We visited the East Village with its small art galleries and even attended a discussion about art in one of them. We visited Sheridan Square with its famous bookshops, brownstone houses which reminded me of England, the Seagram Building, Lever House, and the Lincoln Center. At the Lincoln Center we saw some Calder sculptures which Mike liked. We wandered into many art galleries, the one which I remember best was the Frick collection with its calm interior courtyard and famous art including Vermeer’s Laughing Girl, JV Eyck’s Virgin and Child and El Greco’s Clearing of the Temple.

Mike made contact with his friend, Chris, who, although still away on vacation, gave us permission to use his flat as a pied-a –terre. I found the ferocious untidiness of his abode in stark contrast to the expense of the furnishings and world class art on the walls including a Chagall. Mike and I adopted it as a good place to hang out and enjoy each other’s company without the watchful eye of a hostess, as was the case in Barbara’s apartment.

My last memory of Mike is of the Sunday afternoon which we spent in Central Park. That’s when he told me that he felt that he had squandered the weekend and that he felt depressed. He told me that girls of my class are cold, and that American girls attack the male. It was obvious from this comment that he did not like the attacking woman but somehow seemed to wish that I were more sexual and did just that. Perhaps this was the moment when I should have come clean and told him about my dark secret but I didn’t. Pride is a terrible thing.

When he made his declaration of love, I did not understand what he was saying. His declaration came in a riddle which I pretended to understand but didn’t. He said that the new Beatles song ‘I’ve just seen a face’ summed up his feelings and made him think of me. I, of course, had never heard the song, and so did not know what he was telling me. But again pride took hold and I didn’t say anything. When I got home I bought the record and cried bitterly when I heard the words. Even now years later those words ring my heart and bring tears to my eyes.

‘I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
Where we just met
She’s just the girl for me
And I want all the world
To see we’ve met
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm mmm mmm

Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
And I’d have never been aware
But as it is I’ll dream of her tonight
La, di, di, da di di

Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
I have never known the like of this
I’ve been alone and I have missed things
And kept out of sight
For other girls were never quite like this
La, di, di, da di di’
——————–
‘Oh, falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again’

Calling I may have been, but after we parted I spent a few more miserable days in New York and an equally sad nine-day oceanic crossing before taking up my next year at university. I don’t remember if we exchanged letters, I rather think that we didn’t or if we did they were few and far between. Certainly, on my side of the ocean, the demands of everyday life including my mother’s illness and death eclipsed any thoughts of trying to stay in touch. By the time that my menses occurred two years later and I became a full woman we had already lost contact. That’s when I wrote the first version of the letter that was never mailed. That’s the letter which I have now rewritten and have nowhere to send.

I add this conclusion to my ‘Unanswered Letter’ in the second edition of my anthology of short stories. It wraps up Mike and my encounter of 1966. When the first edition came out in 2013, I undertook an extensive promotion tour to assist with sales. I orchestrated the tour so that it followed the path which I had taken forty years earlier. It was a nostalgic decision which gave me pleasure but I was not so wrapped in the past to travel by Greyhound. No, this time, I travelled in luxury in an RV camper. Moreover, I didn’t travel alone as my son, now a freelance photographer, accompanied me acting as chauffeur and companion. He helped fill the vacuum left by my husband’s death and used the trip to chronicle America on film. We stayed in good hotels, and ate well. I enjoyed this chance to travel with him and was thankful that he was beside me to soften the sting of loss and provide companionship.

I developed a routine in which I would read excerpts, always the same excerpts, answer questions, and then sit at a desk signing books with a blue felt tip pen. At each venue I scanned the audience in the hope that, perhaps, I’d see a face that I recognized. Well, actually, I didn’t care about just any recognizable face all I wanted was that one face, the reason for the story, which I did not explain to my audiences. Each time I rationalized my disappointment with the consolation that the more people who came, the more the book would be read the more likely it was to draw the response which I craved.

By the time that we had been on the road for two months we were both ready to go home and headed south from New York with only one stop planned in Fort Worth. Here, the second signing was in a boutique store. As usual I scanned the audience without recognition. I gave my reading, answered questions and settled down to signing books. When I thought that the last book had been presented I looked up at the room to see if my son was close. That was when I felt a warm hand on my neck. I experienced an erotic wave of excitement. Only one person had ever touched my neck in this manner causing such a tremor of desire. A clipped voice spoke, the sound transported me back four decades, “Hi Susan, it has been a long time. How are you?’

I didn’t have to turn. I knew. I said, “It’s you Mike, isn’t it?”

I didn’t have to ask how he was I could feel strength and health in his touch. It was the same vitality of 1966. Slowly, enjoying every precious moment, my heart pounding, every second in slow motion I turned to look into his face. The rest of the room became a blur as I looked at him. In those long nanoseconds I saw beyond aging skin, beyond graying hair, beyond creases around the eyes and mouth, into the depth of the blue eyes. Their color was unchanged and they still shone with intelligence. I wanted to plunge into their blue, to swim in their pool of intellect. As I faced him I felt his hand still warm and caressing, touching the erotic places on my neck. I sensed his strength and lost myself in the ecstasy of the moment.

Slowly, ever so gently, he bent over and brought his lips to mine for a kiss. It was to be that sweet kiss which we had never exchanged.

© Copyright, Jane Stansfeld, January 2014

Leap at the Grand Canyon – a short story.

“Don’t jump, don’t jump,” Bryan’s voice was coaxingly gentle.

It was the sweltering hot summer of 1966, and he didn’t want to frighten the girl because she was sitting so close to the rim. One false move and she would be over. Bryan recalled his training as a park ranger in which they were given counsel on how to spot and respond to visitors who appeared to be intent on suicide. Their training ranged from learning to look at steering wheels in parked cars for last adieu notes; to spotting people standing on the rim contemplating their jump. The girl’s proximity to the rim and her pose fit the description of someone about to leap.

Bryan loved the splendor of the Grand Canyon and had often wondered why it attracted suicides. Was it the steep drop with its promise of an answer to the nagging question of what goes through one’s mind as one hurtles through space into oblivion? Happy though Bryan was, he had entertained this thought himself, and had often spent time on the rim pondering what thoughts would pass through his mind and whether time would move slowly as it was purported to do at such critical moments. Or, he wondered, would the fall be so quick that one would scarcely have time to reason. The answer had never seemed important enough for him to jump.

Bryan also knew that some authorities maintain that the suicides are attracted to the beauty of the Grand Canyon wishing to meet their end in a place flooded with the serenity of nature and the vastness of the universe. He wondered whether the awesome impact of the place somehow brought the suicides closer to the finality of what they were about to do and, in doing so, gave them courage and peace. Long ago, he had determined that he, like most people, preferred to admire the beauty rather than embrace it.

The girl had started when he spoke, but otherwise ignored him. She was sitting on a small box-like suitcase approximately one foot square. She had her head in her hands and her elbows on her knees, almost Rodin’s thinker’s pose. She wore an unusually immaculately clean white shirt and a pair of khaki shorts. Her arms and legs were long and tanned golden. Her hair hung in two fat ginger braids down her back. Her form was silhouetted, golden, in the oblique rays of setting sun on the west side of the canyon. Bryan cautiously stepped closer and made his voice as tender as possible.

“Don’t jump, don’t jump,” he urged.

This time she responded and turned to face him. “I’m not going to jump.” Her voice was melodious with a distinct English accent. He stepped closer so that he could reach and touch her or restrain her if she tried to jump. “Then, why don’t you move a little further back?” he pleaded, “Then I could sit beside you – that’s if you don’t mind.” She rose and, for a split second, Bryan thought that she was going to jump; but she turned and picked up her makeshift seat and moved it a few feet back from the rim next to a large boulder. She didn’t look at Bryan merely took up her seated position again. Bryan followed her cue and sat on the boulder beside her.

Sunset in the Grand Canyon is stunning as the oblique golden rays silhouette individual rock formations teasing glorious color from their forms. For some time they sat beside each other marveling at the beauty before them and watching the depths gradually disappear into the shadows below. As they watched, Bryan still wondered whether she was contemplating suicide and had merely delayed things to placate him. He had watched the sunset over the Canyon many times, always with a sense of wonder; but this time his heart pounded unnaturally whether because he sat next to a potential suicide, or because she was so young and beautiful or perhaps a combination of these factors. When the sun finally dipped below the horizon, he looked at her again. She was now more erect and was rubbing her hands together in an action which conveyed an anxious mind.

“Don’t think about jumping. Please don’t jump. Tell me how I can help.”

This time that she spoke her voice was matter-of-fact and a little dismissive “Don’t worry; I’m not going to jump. I came to see the Grand Canyon and marvel at its beauty. I have no intention of jumping.”

“That’s good to hear, but you do seem worried. I’m right you are worried aren’t you?” She gave a slight affirmative nod, so he pressed on “Tell me what’s wrong, perhaps I can help?”

She now turned and looked him in the face, “You are right. I am worried, but not what you might think. I am only worrying about where I shall spend the night.”

Her eyes were like deep pools, as dark as the shadows in the canyon. Bryan was drawn in, “What do you mean? There is lodging on this side of the Canyon.”

She nodded, “I know, but everything is full, even the camp sites. You see I came in with friends on the bus which arrived at three this afternoon and the last bus back to Flagstaff left at five. They took it but I couldn’t entertain the thought of coming so far and only staying two hours so, although I could not find accommodation, I could not leave on that bus.”

“You couldn’t find lodging anywhere?” There was a hint of disbelief in his questioning voice.

“No, everything’s full. I should have booked a long time in advance but that wasn’t to be. I’m a little worried, perhaps even scared but,” here she intensified her gaze, “I’m sure I’ll be okay.”

“You are going to be okay because you can stay in the ranger’s cabin.” Bryan knew that this was against rules, but he had to offer. Surely, he thought, some rules are made to be broken.

For a moment she was silent and looked back over the Canyon. Then she turned to look at him again, perhaps really seeing him for the first time, “Thank you. That’s very generous, but you realize…..”

“Yes, yes,” he interrupted, “you will be fine, I’ve got a sleeping bag, I will sleep outside. No one will hurt you! You can trust me! By the way, my name is Bryan.”

“Mary,” she stretched out her hand for a handshake, “pleased to meet you.”

Bryan felt a tingle of pleasure as their hands touched. He was glad that it was now dark so that she couldn’t see his flushed face. He spoke again, surprised at how husky his voice sounded, “Now that the sun has set why don’t we go back to the cabins? We are having a hot dog cook-out this evening I invite you to join us.”

Mary acquiesced. Together, they followed the rim until they came to the place where the park rangers had set up their hot dog picnic. Eyebrows were raised as the other rangers were introduced but Bryan protected Mary as though she were his sister. The night was balmy and the stars bright, the sort of night when a boy and girl can fall in love. They talked all evening as they discovered more and more reasons to justify their mutual attraction. Mary told him that she was an English architectural student travelling the US on a greyhound ninety-nine dollar, ninety-nine day pass. Bryan was astonished for he was also an architectural student and was working as a ranger over the summer. When she told him of her home town of Durham he knew the cathedral and told her that he fully intended to visit it the following summer. She told him that she would love to host him when he came.

When they turned in Bryan kept his word and escorted Mary to his bunk in the cabin without making an advance although he dearly wished to kiss her. It took him some time to fall asleep on the ground in his sleeping bag but sleep he did.

They were in Durham Cathedral it was as magnificent as Bryan had learned from his architectural history classes. The giant carved stone aisle columns rising to the stone vaults above and the east-end rose window casting an eerie light. They held hands as they went to the north-west corner of the north transept and bought tickets to the tower from the red-robed verger. They almost ran up the stone steps until they came to the attic over the roof. Here they paused to wonder at this space as they followed the way to the last stairs up the tower located immediately over the crossing. The tower stairs were steep and narrow. Each tread was worn into a concave dip by the passage of many feet. Mary went first, Bryan followed behind. A final twist and they passed through a narrow door onto the gallery on the top of the tower. Mary took his hand and led him around pointing out landmarks in all directions; her home, the castle, the river, the market. A breeze came up and she stood with her face into the wind and loosened her hair so that it flowed behind her. Then she took his hand and climbed up onto the parapet. They stood together leaning slightly into the wind. Bryan murmured,

“Don’t jump, don’t jump!” But he already knew that they were going to jump.

Her eyes sparkled, her voice teased, “Yes, jump, jump!” and she swung up her arms as she leapt. Bryan went with her. They floated gently down and all he could think about was how happy he was to be holding her hand. For a moment everything went blank; and then his body shook and he felt a gentle kiss on his face, and then on his lips. He wondered if this was the kiss of death, thinking that it was too enjoyable to be death.. He could still feel her hand, but it was backward. He opened his eyes. Her face was next to his, ever so close, her hand clasped in his. He was lying on the ground. “Where am I?” he asked.

“Good morning!’ she laughed, “You are here in a sleeping bag on the top of the Grand Canyon. Thanks to you, I had a great night and managed to rise in time to catch the dawn over the Canyon. It was magnificent. Sitting on our boulder listening to the birdsong and watching the sun picking out individual formations filled me with the wonder and love of life. It made me realize how lucky I am and how special you are, Bryan.”

Bryan breathed in her vitality and vigor. He sat, releasing her hand and took her in his arms. He grinned, “Yes,” he murmured, “good morning. It is a good morning isn’t it?’ He hesitated, and gently commented, “I was dreaming. I was dreaming about you, Mary, and about Durham Cathedral.”

Mary waited while he dressed and prepared for the day. She planned on a short hike down the canyon with a return in time for the five pm bus to Flagstaff; and he had to take up his Ranger duties; but they found time to return to their boulder for a few minutes. As they sat filled with wonder at the scene before them they both realized that they had jumped. The leap which they had taken would be as life changing as a jump off the rim, although it promised to be infinitely more enjoyable.

© Copyright, Jane Stansfeld, November 2013

Hippo – a poem

This is my first attempt at a Shakespearian sonnet with its iambic pentameters. I found the rhyming scheme and the rhythm difficult as I seem to think in rhyming couplets and had to shake off this habit. I hope that you endorse the love theme as appropriate for a sonnet although I couldn’t go too cerebral.

Oh, when did my sweet love of thee begin?
Hippo dear, was it thy tiny eye and ear?
Surely it wasn’t thy wrinkled tough skin
Or the plunge thou takes when I draw near.
Is it envy of thy water-hole day?
Or ev’ntide, when I see thee lumber on shore,
Carefree, no enemies upon thee to prey
Then thou eats ‘til thou can eat no more
Oft times thy mouth gapes open at me
No loving kiss but yellow teeth inside
Then thy roar matches in ferocity
And I know that ‘tis best I go and hide.
Come now, why is my love not returned,
Even when methinks that it is earned?

Copyright © 6/6/2013 Jane Stansfeld

Marriage – a poem

‘The Wind’ by C Dale Young is a haunting poem. In this poem I plagiarize by taking the first line of each stanza of ‘The Wind’ (at times modified slightly) and work it into my own interpretation called ‘Marriage’. I wanted to post a link to C Dale Young’s poem that you could read it but I couldn’t find one, so if any of my readers requests it I’ll post it here. I refrain from doing so now as I don’t want to be compared with a master like C Dale Young.

But I was afraid then. I remember still
menacing water on my face,
my anguish, as I lost my grip on the shore.
Where were you, partner, when I stepped in
alone, to brave the salty deeps,
abandoned, to my frigid fear?

Unlike you I was lit by panic then,
waves sucked me into their embrace,
Could I yell for help?
Many were there immobile, impassive
but you mouthed ‘I love you’.
Then, you told me that

there shall be no fear. But I was afraid.
Yesterday I watched my friend
walk the same path to the vows altar.
I heard her dismayed cry as
her craft swirled on wild waters.
The current spun her fast, she

who has only just learned to be carried by it.
Do not shrug, I need you beside
to brave life’s treacherous eddies
Together we sail swirling seas to eternity.
I need you to buoy me up,
To save me; you, who keep my heart

in your rooms. Now, the old man says
we must face life together,
what God joined no man shall
put asunder. The lifeboat of union
needs two at the oars.
You and I together, for a third.

But this, this final step … Do not laugh.
when a child joins us in the
waxing and waning of life. We are bound,
watertight, as a deft dry family
rowing serenely over the expanse,
hereafter, to never dive alone.

Approachable – a poem

This poem was inspired by the line ‘I never could talk to you’ from the fifth stanza of Sylvia Plath’s Daddy. Something which Coco J. Ginger http://courtingmadness.wordpress.com/ wrote in her blog inspired me to respond with it and so I thought that I should also post it on my blog.

I never could talk to you
You, so powerful, strong,
You with your success,
Your good looks,
Your charm

And I,
Who was I?
I was the nothing at your feet,
An insignificant nobody,
I never could talk to you

Until one day you slipped
I saw you fall, on your face,
Then, when you fell,
From grace,
I could talk to you.

The Seagull – a short story

It’s cliché, and I can’t help it. The moment that I saw her I knew that she was the mate for me. To win her was another matter for those were the days of my obscurity and this was my first courtship. I can’t explain how good I felt when I saw her; suffice it to say that my heart fluttered, my feathers quivered, and I let out an exuberant twitter of song.

To understand what I experienced you must shut your eyes and see her as I saw her. She was sitting in the middle on top of the central tower of the Forte Michelangelo in Civitavecchia, Italy, overlooking the sea. It was regal. Her silhouette was haloed by the rising sun and I could see every feather. She gazed out to sea, and I dove down next to her to make sure that what I saw was real. Imagine my delight when I determined that she came from the same nesting colony as I, and was another four year-old, the correct age for mating. In case you didn’t know courtship is very serious for we seagulls as we are strictly monogamous. For the lucky ones who have long lives this could be a forty-five year liaison.

It was early March, the correct season for mating which meant that, inevitably, I was not the only one to notice her. My competition was fierce and only served to confirm my conviction and to strengthen my resolve. We launched into all the usual mating displays. We swooped and dove before her. We sang our best trills to her loveliness. We threatened each other and promised fights to the death; and we told her about our choice of nesting place.

Initially she was unimpressed but little by little she began to show interest and eventually, she announced that she had narrowed the field down to two. Oh, joy, I was one of the two. The catch was that she set us three labors and told us that she would make her choice based on our accomplishments. She declared that this was a fairer method of selection than our proposed air battle. Oh how rational she was! I loved her even more intensely.

The first test was for us to display our mettle as providers – to bring her food. I flew out to sea and found a working fishing boat. Soon, I was rewarded with a beautiful baby squid which they threw overboard. But when I got back to my love I found him beside her; he was preening himself with pride. He had stolen, yes stolen, an at least day-old dead fish from the port’s fish market. Even though our beloved asserted that fresh squid was her favorite food; she declared him winner. I lost this round even as her fairness intensified my adoration.

The second test was to bring her a select piece of nesting material – something which would remind her of Civitavecchia and of her favorite Saint Francis. Again we flew off. I flew directly to the Cathedral of San Francisco d’ Assisi with its soaring two-order façade. There I sat on the roof and waited for inspiration. At last I had an idea. I flew down to the entry. On either side of the entry at the top of the regal steps up to the main doors were two large potted plants. They were aromatic rosemary. I took a small sprig and flew triumphant back to my love. Again I was thwarted for he had managed to tear a piece off a Franciscan robe which was out on a clothesline drying. He gave me a mean look and asked whether we really needed to go on with this farce. His squawk upset her; and she peeped that we most certainly did because that was what we had agreed. Her comment fueled my amour, for who could not admire her determination and honesty?. She gave a hopeful caveat that the outcome of the third test could trump the outcomes of the two previous tests on which we had both ‘delivered’ as she put it.

Before our third test we moved fifty miles inland, from Civitavecchia, Rome’s Tyrrhenian Sea port, to Rome itself. We did this to avoid some inclement weather. It was also raining in Rome but we felt better protected inland. She announced the third test which was to give her a taste of celebrity fame. We both stared in disbelief as seagulls generally do not want renown. It isn’t associated with good chick rearing, but neither of us wished to compromise our chances, and so we flew off. I hovered close as I was unable to think of a way to gain recognition but he soon came back bearing a cardinal’s ring. He had brazenly stolen it from a Vatican window. I was horrified. I told her that she would be making a big mistake to mate with this thief for all his responses to her tests indicated that he was one. I told her that thieves eventually get caught and that she would be left alone, probably right in the middle of the nesting season. She harkened to my arguments but, faithful bird that she is, she maintained that she would keep to her word. How I loved her for her stoicism. She conceded that I had until midnight to prove myself.

But how could I prove myself? I flew off and settled on one of the Sistine Chapel vents. It was warm and comforting and gave me a view of the crowds of people below – what, I wondered, were they up to? As I stood there, balancing on one foot, I tried to pray to St. Francis, her patron, but of little avail. I asked for an omen, something to assist me in my quest. All of sudden I got what I asked for as white smoke began to pour out of the vent at my foot, at the same time the crowds of people below erupted into jubilant applause. I flew down to my lost love. She was sitting on the head of one of the statues on top of the Bernini colonnade around the Square. But she was not lost she was squawking with joy. She was using her long eyesight to watch a news broadcast through one of the windows opposite. She explained that the white smoke was a signal that the Cardinals had elected a new Pope, and that while I was sitting on the stack I was viewed by millions all over the world. I had achieved fame beyond our wildest dreams and was, at that very moment, being tweeted worldwide.

The Image – a poem

IMAGE

This is a poem which I wrote some time ago. Last week I plagiarized it to use it to answer Eric Alagan’s challenge for a 55 word piece on portrait which he posted on Written Words Never Die http://ericalagan.net/ This being so I thought that I ought to post the whole poem here.

An image random found
In the city’s anonymous crowd
Is held before my outstretched person,
As precious as a famous portrait,
As fresh as a saint in fresco.
A face in the rushing crowd,
Suddenly, to transcend the media,
Being to me a window
Opening to you beyond.
So the face hoarded, valued,
As a great master’s painting,
Timeless, space-less, beautiful,
Is hung in the galleries of my mind.