by G.L. Morrison
Along this hallway you will see
a disparate collection, function and history
of masks, masking, maskery.
The sacred beside the profane.
Second faces of warriors and shamans.
Kachina dancers. Venetian Masquerade.
A snorkel. A fireman’s SCBA. A Halloween
ninja turtle, a bird goddess,
the plague doctor, Jesse James’ bandana,
the mardi gras party-goer (revelling
in Fat Tuesday’s excesses before
the austerity of Lent), mickey mouse,
heads of high school mascots, the surgeon’s blue,
a gas mask from WWI, a balaclava.
A welder’s face shield, a soldier’s.
The hangman’s hood, the clansman’s.
A ski mask. A death mask.
A burka. A bridal veil.
The Guy Fawkes. The Casanova.
The Red Masque of Death.
The ball gag gimp. Rubber heads
of presidents and Hollywood kings.
Ahead is an alcove
that is mask-free. Its walls flanked
by mirrors to show you the masks
you wore in here unwittingly:
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