when I fell in love

with the mask

it had been worn so long

the wearer didn’t know it was there


I made many mistakes and overlooked the peeling

at the edges

her only mistake was underestimation

she grew to understand a self beneath

the mask but wouldn’t tell me outright

hoping I would see through it or puzzle out

what had taken her lifetime

over time, the one she died to become

grew resentful towards my affection

for the facade

believing I couldn’t love the person wearing it

perhaps even that nobody could

I could have

if I had ever met them

that mask was painstakingly chiseled off

whereas mine, less secure, fell suddenly

in an empty playhouse

crashing on the stage

shattering on impact

X marks the spot