My poem for the Wearing a Mask series on Silver Birch Press.
In a Time of Hidden Faces
by Carol A. Stephen
This face, my mask of age, slips south
into my neck, wrinkles drawn down by time
and gravity into folds, creases, wattle.
Still, when youth shines forth in my smile, wrinkles
tighten. Years slip away. Or they did—
Now, a different mask, a swath of black cloth
covers dimples, highlights the slight droop
of lower eyelid under my glasses.
Over my shoulder, masks of the past
stare blank-eyed from the wall, and I remember
those days in Venice, that long-ago night in Rome,
the sweetness of a kiss by the Trevi fountain.
Those kissed lips hide now under my new mask, worn
for your safety. I cannot offer you a grin, but
I offer the people of my world my respect,
expressed by this black band across my face.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As we all consider social distancing, and…
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Lovely Italian memories, Carol! The reference to Venice is quite appropriate. How sad, this year the Venetian Carnival was cancelled for the first time in history!
Thanks, Massimo! Yes, I do have wonderful memories of Italy. Sad that Carnival is cancelled, and sad too for the sinking of that lovely city. My one regret is that I had so little time in Italy, and that I did not get a chance to go back again. We drove from Germany, spent 12 very hot days in your beautiful country, and flew back home just a few days before the attack on NYC. That stands out as an American (and his two teenage daughters) we met in Rome was teaching at Spoleto that summer, and he lived just across the river from the twin towers.