I See So Many

I see so many those who never smile,
or if they do, who keep it tight and brief,
and those who won't set free their laugh a while,
abruptly caging it between shut teeth.
And try to picture them as children once:
Did they loosely smile back then, did they
release a laugh with ease, exuberance
and let it reach full peal, die naturally?
And wonder as they stiffly stand in place
if they're really leaping deep inside,
or singing just behind that silent face
at the bank or store, flying down a playground slide.
And wish us all a jig, a pirouette
beneath our grown-up walks, so long and straight.

Elise Hempel

If you have any comments on this poem, Elise Hempel would be pleased to hear from you.