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Posts Tagged ‘mask’

I had worn it so long, that mask,

I didn’t notice it no longer fit.

In fact, I didn’t notice I wore it at all.

Every day I woke up wearing the mask.

I wore it all day, then returned to bed wearing

the mask. I don’t even remember putting it on,

what, was it as a child? Slowly, we come

to take habit as truth. Besides, on the outside,

it was pretty enough. Placid and happy.

It was only today I noticed how on the inside,

the mask had hair of snakes, how I was being

surely turned to stone. I did not want

to break the mask. I did not know

what the face beneath it might be.

I was afraid to not like what I saw.

There is a call to be ruthless, our hands

rising to do what must be done,

though some voice we thought

was our own shouts at us to stop.

And there is another voice. Perhaps

you’ve heard it, too. I notice

it’s easier to hear it when the mask

isn’t covering my ears. It’s strange

today to walk down the street.

I don’t know what I might say.

I don’t know what I might do.

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One Beat

Take
it off.
The hat.
The jeans.
The shoes.
The shirt.
The missing
rings.
Take off
the watch.
Let down
the hair.
Remove
the public
sparkle
from
the eyes.
Let slip
the beaded
shawl
of shoulds,
the tired
scarves
of worry.
Lonesome
glove
of shame
that still
remains,
thin gloss
of why,
let’s
lose them.
Almost
naked
now my
love, please
touch me
slow
before
we put
it all
back
on.

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A tiny screw,
a tiny screw
beneath the butts
and cheat grass stems
and fallen in
between the rocks,
a tiny screw,
a tiny screw,
you almost missed it,
didn’t you, and what
did it hold together?
The sharp end broken,
useless now. Was
it mine? How
many lives does it
take to unscrew the
light? We are all
falling apart. In our wake,
we leave hundreds,
thousands of invisible
screws—in our lawns,
in our beds, between
our car seats, in thin
alleys, on stages,
beneath the fridge.
We are all trying
to pretend we can hold it
together. Next time, maybe
you’ll notice them,
not the millions of screws
we’re constantly stepping over, but
these holes that get harder
to hide from ourselves,
from each other.

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Even while she is singing,
her mask comes off—the cheeks,
the brow, the lips still moving

even after they’ve been discarded
on the tray beside the brown hair.
Beneath that face, another face.

Its lips sing the same quiet song.
The mirror is not surprised.
Into the new face, the scalpel slips

and the next layer pulls away.
Eyebrows, nose bridge, chin, jaw.
And the lips keep singing

as they away they fall.
The woman is no less herself.
She is not who she thought

she was. She is being sung.
The mirror lets slip
the passing layers.

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with one hand
I wave for you
to see me
with the other
I retie my mask

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