before I knew to love you,
I typed an overwrought thought
about those little brown spots swirling or
perhaps, though it pains me to admit, constellating
on your nose, your cheeks, your very soul or
a similar plea for meaning. because they couldn’t
just be little bits of brown skin. they had
to be stars, or flecks of swallowed sunlight,
or perhaps birds, yes, birds,
flocking across a cloudless face.
as usual, I had it backwards. stars freckle
the night, birds freckle the trees, whose
leaves freckle the houses on our street.
it’s only taken me nine years to realize
your freckles are freckles. my favorite
is one on your lip, which
I first noticed while you slept. it’s barely
a freckle at all, this freckle, so faint.
an island in the ocean completely
covered at high tide is the freckle
on your lip. you could miss it altogether
if you were looking for stars.
David Priest is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in The American Literary Review, Salon, Cleaver Magazine, Outside Magazine, Fare Forward, and many other publications. He lives with his wife and two sons in Kentucky.