_Facial Recognition_ by Aerik “phaentompoet” Francis

iHave doubted my smile–
if it existed in the face
of those mouthing

of my ubiquitous grin.
but iDo know when
my smile smiles– feeling

the evidence in its departure.
here, it wasn’t the picturesque
Los Angeles January Sun,

but a removal of a tether’s
never questioned presence.
such a wonderful good-bye

greeting a lucky camera.
happy, it seems, visited
me in spontaneous burst.

my personal captured volta–
iCan hear a cackling Yes
so loud iForget the sound

was always an exclaimed No
so closed-eyed, so mouth-wide,
so smiled it blurred–

Aerik Francis (they/them/he/him) is a Queer Black & Latinx poet based in Denver, Colorado, USA. They are a Canto Mundo poetry fellow and a The Watering Hole fellow. They are also a poetry reader for Underblong poetry journal. They have poetry published widely, links of which may be found at phaentompoet.com .

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