top of page

  You could have a big dipper   

the anxiety of facial recognition software by Wyeth Leslie

(or: the possibility of reverse prosopagnosia)


there’s a succession of nauseous seconds

when my sharp <hitching> breath forms a punctuation

a respiratory response of an exclamation point

when strangers wear the expressions of dead friends


recently I saw an old friend at a fading bonfire party

but it’s been years since his own apartment embered

his funeral brought the expected familiar faces

but their subtle changes felt like rattled teeth


the letdown restructuring of misrecognizing strangers

<my autumn-hued recollections aren’t their fault>

does not get easier when my “hellos” press my lips

but the triggering faces have been moved to memory banks


new faces hold new possibilities for familiarity

but when the new orbits pass into nebulous connections

my sharp hitching breath will form a punctuation

a respiratory response for a question mark


these faces are looped back to me with each parting

these faces are looped back to me with “how are you”

such as the face of a friend whose smile was her byword

and final goodbye words were “I’ve been really happy lately”


An MFA graduate from Oklahoma State University, Wyeth Leslie (he/him) is a poet and author interested in pop culture, technology, and beauty in the mundane. His writings have been featured in publications such as The Vital Sparks, Lost Futures, The Daily Drunk, and Haywire Magazine. He can be found staring into the abyss on Twitter: @Wyeth_was_here

62 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page