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Snap Judgment

A slap in the face --
No provocation, no warning,
Leaving only flushed cheeks for evidence
That anything had happened.
Just like that --
Only it wasn't my face that was hurt,
But my pride.
Comfortable in my quick dismissal,
I never looked again to reconsider.
A work someone thought enough of to display,
And I just turned to my friend, laughing
About what passes for art nowadays.

Same song, different verse;
Different crowd, one more look,
And someone comments on a detail
I hadn't even noticed --
Wouldn't have seen for myself
In weeks of searching.
There it was,
The touch of a master,
And I had dismissed it with the eyes of a fool.

If the flush to my cheeks was obvious,
No one brought it up.
So I spoke, an honest reappraisal,
Not daring to look another in the eye.
I stayed around only as long as necessary
Not to appear too anxious to leave
And exit quietly with the shards of my complacence,
Still reeling from the blow.

Kathleen Walsh


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