As they sat encircling their teacher
he chose an analogy to illustrate his meaning,
how focusing on a detail could bring life to a scene.
She can’t exactly recall his words, so these are hers.
A bridge over a city river,
nine in the morning, rain,
stressed commuters making their
shoulders hunched, heads down way,
clad in neutral, grey,
an occasional mac in beige,
hundreds of black umbrellas,
spinning cogs and wheels
all part of a grinding machine,
in their midst, one yellow disk,
one bright buttercup shining clear.
And he said… ‘you are her…’
Through this picture
she saw herself fresh through his eyes,
understood where he rested his gaze,
knew that he’d seen through her guise.
And so she began to see more…
She noticed his glasses were fingerprint smudged for he had neither time nor an inclination to clean them.
He noticed her chameleon eyes changed colour with the weather, how the sun shone on her face.
She noticed how he rolled the sleeves of his sweater, exposing his arms, smooth and dry as paper.
He noticed her hair turning blue, reacting with the copper in water piped from the hills beyond their view.
She noticed his hat pulled over his ears lost him years, made him look young, made him seem vulnerable.
He noticed she wore a different dress each day, unsuitable shoes for a writers retreat up a mountain in Spain.
She noticed his sweet tooth, how he burned energy, stirred at least three sugars into his tea, often four.
He noticed when she read she often smiled, laughed out loud, became riled, sometimes even cried.
She noticed behind his seriousness mirth fizzed just beneath the surface, hid like a child in his voice.
He noticed her need to be alone, to let emotion settle and only then could she return to the throng.
She noticed she wanted to touch, fetch the sugar, make him laugh, clean his glasses, always dress up,
He noticed that under her shell lay an old pain he wanted to heal, and monsters he knew could be slain.