Gaze, petulant flower

Every time they look at me they embody me. Bring me back to the skin that creases in the effort to spill its containment. In a crowd I am suddenly a perfect leaf against a mass of others, hurrying before the wandering gaze unaware of itself. I clench my teeth in the effort to remain in bas-relief. If only, only a little while, in a little while…
I am clothed in layers, evanescent as the air and heavy as dust on my pores. The muslin rustles in the heat of summer, desire making its folds as restless as feet. I am tree-ringed, inward, seeking as sap to rise above the ageing trunk, and entombed by my roots. This dust.
They see me, and I lose my self. 
Yet, in that room, among the others, I feel so unbeautiful I want to leave. "Stripped to my beauty." Aware of a foliage of beautiful selves, and I only one among many, I am overwhelmed. A child among children. Singularity in carnal form is both undesirable and impossible.


Don’t count on sunshine, he told me. He meant it mildly. But I took wing on the gusts of absence and rose tall as an eagle against the sun. One doesn’t count on sunshine any more, I said. One waits for the signs of the seasons. The signs arrive even if the seasons’ faces change. They must come. Even absence is a sign. If only one knew how to read it. 


I paused. I knew I was about to chip at my own image in my child’s eyes. This child, my blood and bone, me and not mine. This that I would hold above the earth, precious above all. I paused, and said, "Well, beta…"

And stopping to look at the sky, I realized I had imagined speaking in my father’s voice whilst at the same time I sat as a child at his knee.