Smiles, by Maxwell Bodenheim


Smiles are the words beyond the words
That thoughts abandon helplessly.
Upon this nervous shop-girl's face,
Where clusters of tiny limpness meet,
A frightened spark leaps high and drops
Into the hot pause of a banished love.
A lustrelessly plump
Girl beside her does not know
That her face for moments glows
Into a helpless solitude.
Upon an old man's face
Are gleams of meek embarrassment--
The faded presence of some old debt?
This woman's face is scorched
By a torch that falls from weary hands
And makes her laugh an unheard lie.
The face of this tamed sprite
Shimmers with an understanding
Of the opaque loss she cannot bear,
And I see that smiles are sometimes
Words beyond words
That thoughts abandon hopefully. - Maxwell Bodenheim

Maxwell Bodenheim