Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Mask by Henri Cole


I tied a paper mask onto my face,
my lips almost inside its small red mouth.
Turning my head to the left, to the right,
I looked like someone I once knew, or was,
with straight white teeth and boyish bangs.
My ordinary life had come so far as it would,
like a silver arrow hitting cypress.
Know your place or you’ll rue it, I sighed
to the mirror. To succeed, I’d done things
I hated; to be loved, I’d competed promiscuously:
my essence seemed to boil down to only this.
Then I saw my own hazel irises float up,
like eggs clinging to water plant,
seamless and clear, in an empty pondlike face.

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