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Poem: Behind the mask

 

Behind the mask

By Patrick T. Reardon

 

(mask)

 

Behind the museum glass,

a polished marble scream, frozen,

with large round eye openings,

pale stone, gray as smoke,

worn in ritual by one with sharp edge,

honed for soft flesh,

animal

or enemy

or the one offered by village

as sacrifice,

unmasked.

 

 

(masque)

 

Behind the court entertainment, the work:

 

A fashioner draws scenery lines,

writes actor lines,

makes believe a make-believe,

stages on stage a world,

shapes events,

characters,

couplings, uncouplings,

frown up, smile down,

god of the machine,

for three hours distraction.

 

Then:

 

Disintegration,

atomization,

expiration,

clock strikes,

and fashioner, home, fashions scrambled eggs and toast.

 

 

(mask)

 

Behind the cloth, covering nose and mouth,

 

lungs and a heartbeat, as vulnerable as a virgin;

 

an actor prisoned in a madman’s script,

as random as spermatozoon

in the splash gamble race to a future;

 

a slowly cartwheeling anywhere-everywhere catastrophe,

like the first cancer cells,

the clot,

the rip in hidden flesh,

that I will walk away from

or won’t.

 

Patrick T. Reardon

6.18.20

 

This poem originally appeared at Silver Birch Press on 5.31.20.

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