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Little Moment in the Universe

I was to be in a film during the pandemic
To deliver a public service message
From a chair

Crew re-arranges the screws of the room
Seals the blinds and sets up equipment
Makeup lady approaches me
Surgical mask binding her face

I
Being the alleged subject
Unmasked

She bends down to me
Moves her face close to mine
As if she wants to kiss me

Her lustrous black hair piled to her shoulders
Eyes of Zana dark and enchanted
Re-arranging why I thought I was here

Head tilts to all my flaws

Hands hover and hesitate
Like I’m a crystal ball coming to focus

Mesmerizing eyes
Narrow
To find my lines

Thick eyebrows rise
Before conjuring in her mind
An acceptable face
From this

“Where are you from?” I ask
“Bosnia, my sweet.”
She says in a forest accent

I try to impress
“Your family brought you here from the war?”

She gives little hint
“Mmmm
Something yes like that.”

My face gets heavier with her colors and creams

“May I ask your name?”
“Merjem.”

“Beautiful.” I accidentally say out loud

My face cringes
I’ve caused her more work and trouble
Lifted from her pallet to this payday canvas

“Remain still.” She hushes
From behind her covered self-portrait

I think of candlelight dinners with her at midnight
At a downtown café in a cobblestone alley
Knee to knee under a white-clothed table

Old fairy books leather in our fingers
Devouring my poems
Hanging her paintings

She is wet to the cup of my lips
Toast of my hands

Those eyes
My only purpose for living

If only the mask could drop from her face
If only I was detached
If only we were 20 years ago
If only I was 30 pounds thinner
If only we weren’t all sick and scared
If only these microphones and cameras weren’t here

If only we could recall past lives
If only the end could begin anew

But I knew
I had always always loved her
Someday.

Copyright © Robert Trezise Jr.

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