Prosopopeia: Face Making

By Alannah Taylor

The child looks up at the clouds and sees old men, horses, a fish eating spaghetti loops
She feels like the clock face is stern and commanding when it reads 9:30 a.m. on a morning when she is late for school
Her mother has smiley knees
Brisk keys
The lightbulbs are sleepy when you first turn them on
The flower grows quickly in attempt to impress her
Trucks on the road are easily made impatient: always grunting at each other
But at night, in the dark, she feels scared, thinks she is lonely.
The gambler imagines patterns in randomness
Sees faces on everything
Thinks his computer breaks just to spite him for leaving tea rings on the desk
Sees his dead son in strawberries
Posts on dating sites “lonely 42-year-old.”
This old woman attends séances, speaks with spirits, reads messages in palms
Sleeps like an empty husk, grappling for an anchor.
This man talks to his gnomes
Bids the queen on his stamps a safe journey
Makes secret, unspoken deals with the numbers on the bus arrival board in the cold
Blames his pen for bad writing
Tries to seduce the Sun out of hiding on bank holidays
Sits crying in his bedroom on Christmas Day.
This boy with his lucky conker, his time honoured companion
Is scared to go to the bathroom unaccompanied.
Her with the pigtails
Playing with puppets
Scolding her shoelaces and feeling comforted by the moon
Saying goodbye to seashells and thank you to her football boots
Getting anxious at playtime.

Seeking out for other minds
Constantly projecting a mind where
A mind is not,
Feeling ourselves alone,
In spite of what we may conjure,
Spurning our imaginings.


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