Jerl Surratt
A Face in Flower

No further away from you than one remove,
my having just leaned in close as a creature could
without landing in your neighborhood, the power
of my vision multiplied by nearly ten thanks to
this magnifying lens, a microscope of sorts
I’ve commandeered to see if I could figure out
what makes your velvet petaled surface glow.

My hand shakes just a little bit. Now from beneath
the rim of my transparent looking glass I purse
my lips, breathe out, and see you shy away as though
I’d tried to kiss a cheek too suddenly on our first date.
Then you look back at me with all the rods of which
your single eye’s composed and leave me blushing
to have dared to try transcending our divide.

One must at times risk doing what one’s not supposed
to do despite the risk—to take into a metaphoric bed
a distant other, with coitus there as punishment,
as Kafka said, for the happiness of being together.
Speaking as your admirer, I’m the one who fed you
sunlight in a tended garden bed to have you live
with me awhile indoors in lamplight, just like this,

so you’d stand in for another’s velvet cheek I’d once
made blush whenever leaning in to ask my kiss be met
halfway. Too late to change the fate of my attraction
to that other face in flower, to have the kiss I’d tried for
time and again, always too soon. But the risk itself
will always bear repeating, for love’s not fully felt
until returned. A lesson, thanks to you, I’ve now relearned.