Meaning in a Mask
When did it become the new normal?
To grab a mask before you walk out the door
hook an elastic string around one ear
then the other
breathe in and feel the fabric kiss your lips
fitting to your face like an awkward second skin
breathe out and it gives you space
as if we don’t have enough of that these days.
When did that small shield become a comfort?
To hide from the world
pulling whatever faces you wish
concealing acne, braces;
no judgment where there is nothing to be seen.
Before, a mask might have been
a warning to stay away, a signal of sickness
a rare sight.
Now, a slip of fabric announces to everyone that:
this wearer respects science
this wearer follows rules
this wearer cares about others’ health.
Decked out in disposable hospital blue or
white duckbills or
airy bandanas or
a mask someone’s grandmother made, ribboned and bright
like a splash of color against the gray of every monotonous day.
Who could have predicted that a simple mask could hold such meaning?
I’m alone in my room
lying on my bed.
The shades are down
it’s dark, the air is dead.
I’m staring at the ceiling
my breathing is a mess.
The ceiling’s staring back
a weight upon my chest.
The walls aren’t closing in
they’re simply way too close.
I never felt this way before
that’s what scares me the most.
It helps to be outside
to stand in the fresh air.
Tilt my face up to the sun
bask in the warmth there.
Reveling in the openness.
A Dog’s Perspective
It’s all about perspective
someone may call the pandemic
the “defining moment of their life”
not in a good way, of course
but to others the pandemic is
the “best time of their life”
because they get to spend
of every day
with their family:
no more leaving them for work
plenty of time to play
always available for attention
who am I talking about?
dogs of course
man’s best friend
who doesn’t know that their owners have no choice
no, to dogs, we have chosen
When this is all over, what will happen?
Will everything go back to the way it was before?
Is that even possible?
Will everyone be more aware of personal space?
Or will I be the only one who automatically backs away if someone gets too close?
Will people still wear masks?
Or will they fade away like memories?
Will COVID become a thing of the past, eventually?
Or will it be something that stays with us forever, like the flu?
I hate uncertainty