Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Making Eyes"

This poem came out of the August 2019 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It is posted here as the free epic for the February 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl making its $200 goal. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] adventurecore. It also fills the "nudging someone" square in my 9-5-18 card for the 1000 Words or Less Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Berettaflies thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Making Eyes"

[Friday, November 7, 2014]

"Click the link, click the link!"

"What?" Facet said, staring
at his smartphone.

"I sent you a link to
a video," said Walker Lee.
"Click it, click it, click it."

"Okay, I'll look it up,"
Facet said. He used
his tablet computer.

It was a video of
puppies begging.

"Yeah, that's cute, but --"

"Watch Lily!" said Walker Lee.
"She just learned a new trick."

Facet watched. "It looks like
the older one's having all the luck."

"That's Sherman," said Walker Lee.
"He is the last of the previous litter,
so yeah, he's got an edge in experience.
Lily got tired of him getting all the goodies."

A teenaged girl was feeding dog biscuits
to the puppies, probably part of a program
to socialize them for their later homes.

Suddenly, Lily tilted her head in a way
that made her eyes twinkle copper.
For an instant, they looked
like sad puppydog eyes.

"Aww!" said the girl,
and gave her a cookie.

"Did you see?" Walker Lee said.

"I saw that Lily finally got
a cookie," Facet said. "I'm
not sure what it means."

"Dogs have extra muscles
that move their eyebrows,"
said Walker Lee. "That trait
evolved in response to humans,
who find it cute enough that
they hand out extra treats."

"Yeah, so?" Facet said.
not following the implications.

"Bugeyes can't do that, because
they have compound eyes,"
said Walker Lee. "Lily has
learned how to work around
her limitations. She uses
the ambient light to create
an illusion of expressions."

"That's clever," Facet admitted.
"What does it have to do with me?"

"I think that you can do the same,"
said Walker Lee. "Your eyes look
very similar to what the puppies have.
If you practice, you could learn to use
light the same way, and maybe that
would help people relate to you better."

"But it all relies on what the other person
sees," Facet said, shaking his head.
"How am I supposed to know that?"

"Practice," said Walker Lee. "Try
doing it front of a mirror first. Then
when you have the basics down,
ask a partner to give you feedback.
I'd suggest a physical therapist,
but I don't know they'd have
any idea how to help you."

"Probably not," Facet said.
They hadn't been much use in
the hospital after his first accident.

One of them had even screamed.

Adalina would help him, though.
She didn't mind his face at all now.

"You could come up and play with
the puppies, too," said Walker Lee.
"Watching them might help you learn."

"Okay," Facet said. "I'll try making eyes
and see if it does any good. Thanks
for the tip. I hadn't thought of it."

"Any time, man," said Walker Lee.
"You deserve better than you get."

That was certainly true, Facet thought
as we went to find a large mirror.

Maybe things would change now.

* * *


Dogs have extra muscles to create facial expressions for human interaction, which wild canines lack.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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