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a freckle, a poem by David Priest

a freckle

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.