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I miss back when
I could tell you anything,
and you would mumble back,
that scrap of pencil between your lips.
Your brows would furrow in concentration,
lines forming along your forehead,
your lips,
around your jaw.
I would watch you work,
stare as you bent carefully over the pad
and gently smudged a woman's cheek
or a man's shoulder
with your thumb.
So gentle.
A father's touch.
And then you would frown again,
that frown that droops down
like an upside down smile,
and you would hurriedly swipe
that bruised eraser of yours,
until only half a woman remained
or the whole man's face was gone.
You'd begin again, more carefully
and achingly slow,
sketching out the planes of another stranger,
boxy and messy,
like your hair on Sunday morning.
I'd sit next to you,
take in the smell as you work.
The paper smells like pine freshener,
like your father's pick up,
where you spent summers under the hood
and where you got your first kiss.
The pencil smells like chalk and pennies,
which raddle in your pocket,
along with a crumpled dollar bill.
I know this because I gave it to you,
in exchange for a kiss
and a cup of coffee.
But you,
you work and work.
You smell of sweat
and reek of intelligence, patience,
perseverance.
My nose wrinkles at the smell of you,
but in a good way.
You smell like home.
You sit back quietly,
triumphantly,
that crooked smile hanging from your lips.
You tell me to look,
and I do.
I look at your scruffy hair,
your crinkled eyes,
your lips that twitch with laughter,
and I think,
you're the most beautiful
piece of work
I've ever seen.
*
And then you laugh,
that glorious, intoxicating laugh,
and I see what you've drawn.
Me.
And I'm not beautiful,
not like the others.
But I'm something,
something different.
Something better.
You've drawn me
as if you love me,
which I hope to God that you do,
because I am so desperately,
madly,
in love with you.



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