The Compliment

You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,
He said and with softest sadness looked at her.
Defaced, almost, looked over being looked at
And wrong-footed by the sentiment, she snapped
At him.

I don’t believe you for a moment,
She said and with casual crudeness cut him short.
No word left between them then, they gulped their pints
And smiled at others. When she left the place she did not
Look at him.

Yet what it was that he had seen she will now never know.
Not the skin but some true thing that he had sensed
Hidden in himself. The word he’d called her seeming
Now the kindest that she knows, she is happy that he
Looked at her

And wishes she had thanked him then,
And returned the compliment.

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