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I say, “I see you,”
though I doubt I really do.
I certainly don’t see you the same way
you see you.
I look your way and even stop to say
some greeting as I pass,
and you return my acknowledgement,
maybe touching the brim of your hat.

We live our lives playing peek-a-boo,
believing all along the way
that we left behind our most childish games
in favor of grown-up play.
Then every blessed day we play,
unconscious of the game,
unspoken “Peek-a-boo” each time we greet,
with rituals much the same.

We surprise ourselves after hiding ourselves,
then grin in real delight,
and scare ourselves exposing our selves,
jumping with actual fright.
But it’s peek-a-boo we play when we play,
whatever we call the game.
It’s cover our faces, quickly losing relations,
then experiencing that big surprise;
and we must love it, seeings as how we do it, endlessly over time.

Peek-a-boo’s no problem.
There’s nothing to be cured.
It’s got feature written all over its face
as if in grape juice drool.
We seem to out-grow nothing,
maturing in place,
delighting in discovering
another’s goofy face.

The challenge for us grown ups, though,
is never what we pretend,
it’s whatever we take so seriously,
tragedy portends.
I’m apt to mistake your peek-a-boo
for some thinly-veiled threat
then imagine you conspiring
with the evilest intent,
when you were merely checking out
the view behind your hand,
quite pre-consciously checking out
as preface to checking back in.
Should I respond in anger
or devolve into a rage,
neither of us could be expected
to remember we’re playing a game.

I peek-a-boo you like you peek-a-boo me
in ten thousand curious ways,
whatever we proudly say we do,
peek-a-boo fills our days.
We peek-a-boo in the morning then peek-a-boo ‘till noon,
when we break for a spot of peek-a-boo lunch
before our toil resumes.
We peek-a-boo in meetings and peek-a-boo in the halls,
with all our infernal peek-a-booing,
we’ve time for nothing else at all.

The lucky ones will figure
before it’s far too late
that they’re always playing peek-a-boo,
it is the human fate.
And these fine souls go on to sow
a delightful irreverence,
turning their solemn, stress-filled lives
into an endless game.

I’ll peek at you, you’ll peek back at me,
and sometime before we’re through,
we’ll feign some almost realistic scare,
then giggle as if insane.
And you will know like I will know,
that losing’s never in these cards
when you peek at me and I peek back at you
where ever the heck we are.

Happy New Year

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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