I Wear A Mask

Friday, August 13, 2021

We are out of strawberries, 
I run to the store,
I wear a mask.
I see bare faces and with my eyes, I plead,
“My husband is immune-compromised.”
Please, wear a mask. 
I go to the tool store,
he needs a part for our lawn mower.
I wear a mask.
I see scruffy beards and with my eyes, I plead,
“It’s because he had cancer early in life.”
Please, wear a mask.
I go to the dollar store.
I wear a mask.
Pink lipstick burns into my sight,
and with my eyes, I plead,
“I’ve seen him have viruses that you wouldn’t give a second thought to, and it’s momentous.”
Please, wear a mask. 
I go to the gas station, 
I see spit fly to the ground at the pump behind me,
and with my eyes, I plead, “I can’t lose him. Why aren’t you doing anything to keep him safe?”
I’m tired of begging, where is your mask?
I go on a walk.
I wear a mask. 
I see sweat pouring down their faces.
With my eyes I scream, “If you knew a love like his the fire in your belly would burn too.”
I go home,
he slips down my mask and brushes his lips against mine.
The first sign of life in the day
where my cheeks burn red from blushing.
We sit on the porch swing and watch the fiery sunset.
Tomorrow, I will run the errands,
and he will work steadily in solitude.
I set out my mask.

This piece was printed in the 2021 Quarantine issue of The Lincoln Underground. 

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