Naked Eyes

I've been naked plenty times in my life

I've slept body to naked body entwined and enmeshed

In someone else's limbs and flesh

And yet, I only let them glimpse what I felt permissible

What felt safe to let slip

~

In those moments,

I'll be honest

I didn't feel truly naked, hatched, unfurled, broken open

I'd even admit that I more than likely

Worked against it happening

~

I would bare my body, while upholding appearances

I would exhibit molded muscle

Yet keep myself equally under wraps and carefully in check

I would wear many faceted masks

While aligning with exhibitionist expression

~

For some time now, I've been hiding behind

An expressive layer of brushed on black

Framing the contours of my eyes

Fact is, I never leave the house without it;

I even leave it on when it's time to go to sleep

~

I make sure the onlooker doesn't miss the ocular gate

And though I invite you to take a closer look

I hide behind painted eyes all the same

~

For the most part, men have failed to question

My habit of falling asleep with my mask in place

I do not willingly step forward and reveal the Great Deception,

What I perceive as my great shame:

The lackluster quality of an all-to-common eye color

~

I had never been directly asked why it is that I keep mascara on

Even in the bedroom, when I am around no one other than my Lover

~

That changed late last year

~

It took one man and one question

Or better said, one request, asking me to undress

For me to come eye to eye with what it means

To feel naked for real this time

~

You and I, we'd already been intimate

Our naked skins had mingled

We had previously stripped ourselves bare

In the more conventional sense

~

And yet, one night, I stood at Your door

Knocked, and when You opened, You looked at me and said:

"I want to see you without makeup.

Come back once you have removed this stuff."

~

Normally, I would have balked at such an 'insolent' demand

However, I sensed an opening lying in wait

One that would allow me to be what I care to see manifest

My own vulnerability on unguarded display

~

The inner conflict erupted immediately inside of me

Some of you may think that this is but melodramatic accentuation,

What with fretting over wiping black mascara off eyelashes

What's the big deal here, honestly?

~

Well, the big deal - honey - is that

You asked me to be naked - my definition of naked

You asked me to unclothe and reveal Myself

Without a crutch, without the addition of a beguiling touch

~

I went downstairs back to my cabin and looked in the mirror

Due to dimmed lights, my facial assets cut atmospherically

Through the surrounding penumbra

I haphazardly took out the baby oil bottle and three cotton swabs

And I started wiping away

I knew that a residual amount of black would probably linger on

And that it would help in making my eyes appear less 'extinct'

~

Despite this small consolation, I felt terrified

~

What if You looked at me and saw what many others had said

When they would glimpse my face unmade?

"Are you sick?"

"You look pale today."

~

Oh, but how, on the other end of it, I wanted to show You my true face

~

When I left the cabin, I met with glaring lights overhead

I bent my head and scurried upstairs hoping no one in your corridor

Would be around to see me like this - sporting little refinement

~

I arrived back at your cabin door, knocked and when You opened

I quickly flitted past You and around You and

Shyly sat on the border of the bed

You came, sat next to me, as I now remember the scene

And all my mind pleaded was: 'Please don't ask me to look up'

~

What ensued was a hide-and-seek, cat and mouse little game

Which alternated between You baiting me to look at You

And me furtively looking up only to rapidly lower my gaze

It seemed I couldn't bear facing myself reflected in your eyes

Truth be told though, I felt a certain giddiness rise inside

All the while skirting your probing shine

~

At some point, there was no more imaginary fox hole to bury my face in

You simply weren't going to let my gingerly gaze

Make a continued run for it

~

And so,

I had to look up

~

My vulnerability was met with kindness that night

What I feared didn't come to pass

I wasn't cast out of the limelight

Instead, I was taken in further, met with acceptance

I felt my eyes illuminate, becoming to themselves a delight

Momentarily shedding self-imposed aesthetic plight

~

You could have used this request as a tactic

To dismantle my guard and firmly grip my center

It could have been a strategy You use

To exercise power over those You wish to conquer and make Yours

~

What gave me hope and made me feel like the proverbial million bucks

Could have been a devious little scheme conceived by You

A clever trap devised for someone like me who's been hurt

And secretly wishes to heal

And so blindly steps right into a well-laid trap

~

I probably will never know Your True intention that night

If one can even speak of premeditated thought in Your regard

It could have been a spur of the moment whim

Nothing closely resembling the turmoil it evinced inside my own skin

~

What I can say with clarity - however - is that You saw me

Naked under the light

You allowed me to stand inside the arena without armor

You could have very easily gone for the kill

But maybe You weren't entirely aware of it

Or maybe You knew and thought - let me have some fun with it

~

Considering all that has happened since - this scenario

Constitutes a plausible possibility

It could all have been a lie on your end

~

But does it change how I felt?

~

No, not in my book of books

In my eyes, I opened up to the possibility of Me

No matter Your inner disposition

Your request opened me up - if only for a moment's eternity

And for this - I am grateful

~

To You

~

Being naked is terrifyingly beautiful

I believe that we all secretly wish for it to happen

For us to be seen - in primal gear

As songs have stated: ‘There is beauty in the breakdown’

~

In case some of you wonder; yes, I still wear my mask every day

As much as that evening felt cathartic, eye (I) opening

It hasn't carried me completely over the edge

At least not yet

I have still some growing and shedding and Letting Go to do

~

However, I take my makeup off more readily at night

And I look in the mirror with more kindness these days

In my case, You gave me a moment

That answered hope and cast a powerful memory

~

Either way,

You left me an indelible gift

~

For one timeless instant

My naked eye met Yours

And I felt entirely seen