Collaboration: Day 26

Behind the Mask

Surely I do disappear
when I don that mask, but
where do I go?

Another self lies
in the space between.
I spent three years

living in another country
under another name.
A thousand

masks, one truth;
we are all characters
in someone else’s

play— the stage is set.
Behind my mask
I pretend I can

shield myself from evil.
I usually feel like a monster
wearing a convincing human

mask just to get by.
Long ago, I believed that
love could melt my mask.

In public with my mask
I pretend I am a first responder,
then I can bear

the thought of wearing it.
I am fine with anybody wearing
a mask for protection,

my issue is with people
who always wear “masks”
you could never know who

they really are! Wearing
a mask, still me but not,
only letting people

see that part of me I want
them to see. Writing the lines I want
to think while static dances

in my head. Smile
in my voice even if
you can’t see my face

Original prompt: Mask/personae

by David Stone, Juanita Mantz, Debby Johnson, Douglas McCulloh, Yvonne Suarez, Ai Minamoto Kelley, Magdalena Nunez, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Robin Longfield, Raine Lefaivre-Naggi, Cati Porter