The Eyes Have It

Margaret Zanardo

Fashionable tortoiseshell glasses
frame my frustrated face;
with fresh blue superwipe mask
hitched high to cover my nose,
I’m anxious to ask my questions,
but each time I speak, my glasses fog up.
I want to thank this young sales guy
who knows so much about technical stuff;
he talks to me clearly and simply,
and it’s not a race to finish his spiel
in an effort to impress me.
I laugh as my glasses fog up again,
I’m smiling but he can’t see that;
so finally I gesture with my hand —
a kind of non-touch high-five —
with a slight tilt of my head,
and then he knows I’m smiling,
despite the intervening mask,
and he is, too, I can see —
we’re smiling with our eyes,
smiling the way it was meant to be

Contextual Essay: A smile is the gift that costs nothing yet brings the joy of keeping us connected in these unsettled times. It’s tricky to see a smile behind a mask, so we have to come up with our own solutions. This one is mine.

Margaret Zanardo is a Sydney poet, writer and graphic designer. She has a background in languages, art and English literature. In recent years she has tutored in high school English and creative writing, and also edited academic papers.


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