My Shadow Makes Faces

I recently came across this piece that I wrote a couple years ago for one of my college creative writing courses. This was one of my first attempts at poetry but it remains relevant in my life today. My shadow still makes all the faces that I wish I could actually make at strangers on the street and every now and then, when I’m feeling down and missing my family in Colorado, my shadow expresses that too.

My shadow makes faces,
never when you can see,
always when your back is turned.

It bares its teeth at the nosy dog-walker.
and blows kisses to the dog.
They both have passed
and don’t see the faces that my shadow makes.

My shadow wrinkles its nose 
as the Starbucks barista takes another pull from his cigarette
and my shadow continues to gag 
long after the barista has disappeared.

It purses its lips at the tantruming child
beating its tiny fists in frustration
at the letters “N” and “O.”
That little red face doesn’t know the faces it inspires.

My shadow sticks its tongue out at the waspish business woman
with skin stretched taught over her skull 
by the heinous bun wound atop her head.
She doesn’t see my shadow cringe at the carefully assembled hairdo.

It rolls its eyes at the oblivious teenager,
entranced in the pale light of the iPhone clutched in its talon.
That glowing information box deadens all else to the adolescent 
but breathes life into the irate gestures of my shadow.

It sighs in the peace and the quiet
of an empty home
after a day of making faces at strangers. 

My shadow cries
for bright familiar faces 
reserved for holidays, the happiest times of year.

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