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Colourful, papered, ribboned surprise.
Cardboard smell.
Prickly tinsel.
A mass-manufactured card,
with one Labrador puppy.

Why do you hide behind
the supposed-to, the supposed-to-nots?

Instead unwrap the tinsel.

Tear away-
the ribbon, the carton,
the mass-manufactured card,
the circled sticky tape.

I don’t need that Labrador puppy
When your eyes might be like one’s.

Capture yourself in natural light,
Don’t edit, don’t add those vintage filters;
not the retro ones, nor the ones that make you look
like a ghost of your true self.

Don’t deliver yourself to me in a gift wrap.
Don’t show me a hazy picture of
what you could, would, should be.

Just be to me the gift that you are,
a simple present presented in the present.

©vaidehi patil