When the talk turns to sex and politics,
when the jokes become crude,
when she gets tired and her thoughts
begin to shoot off in all directions,
When the children who’ve been sitting
so quietly beside her on the bench
suddenly get up and run into the next room,
when she doesn’t hear or understand
what someone has said,
She smiles her beautiful smile
and they think she knows more
than she lets on. They think
she possesses the wisdom
that comes with age.
Who can resist her smile?
The way the lip curls in and back,
revealing the small, even teeth,
which she has cared for, faithfully,
all the years of her life. Friends
And strangers want to photograph her,
just to capture her perfect smile.
There’s nothing fake about her smile,
nothing put on. Her smile is never
at someone’s expense, to hurt.
Her smile means she’s happy
to be where she is, with the people
she’s with, even if sometimes
she doesn’t understand them,
and they don’t understand her.
Her smile opens the way for her
into almost any room where people
have gathered. Everyone loves her smile,
because it is free of all pretense.