the nose on your face :: susan browne

In all your life, you will never see your actual face.
If you close one eye, you can gaze
at the side of your nose, but that’s it.
Is that why when looking at group photographs,
it’s yourself you stare at the longest?
Sometimes you’re mistaken for someone else,
And you want to meet her, see for yourself yourself,
but even if you met a gang of doppelgangers,
you will continue searching in hubcaps, sauce pans,
toasters, the backs of spoons, the bases of lamps,
in sunglasses, in another person’s eyes,
and if that person is standing in just the right light,
there you are, trying to get closer.

Courtesy The Writer’s Almanac

chance meeting :: susan browne

I know him, that man
walking- toward me up the crowded street
of the city, I have lived with him
seven years now, I know his fast stride,
his windy wheatfield hair, his hands thrust
deep in his jacket pockets, hands
that have known my body, touched
its softest part, caused its quick shudders
and slow releasings, I have seen his face
above my face, his mouth smiling, moaning
his eyes closed and opened, I have studied
his eyes, the brown turning gold at the centers,
I have silently watched him lying beside me
in the early morning, I know his loneliness,
like mine, human and sad,
but different, too, his private pain
and pleasure I can never enter even as he comes
closer, past trees and cars, trash and flowers,
steam rising from the manhole covers,
gutters running with rain, he lifts his head,
he sees me, we are strangers again,
and a rending music of desire and loss —
I don’t know him — courses through me,
and we kiss and say, It’s good to see you,
as if we haven’t seen each other in years
when it was just a few hours ago,
and we are shy, then, not knowing
what to say next.

Courtesy The Writer’s Almanac