Somebody Else

My masks are thin but dense
Each one thinner than silk
I peel one off
Then another
Day in and day out
I touch my face to recognize
Which one I’m wearing
It’s always someone I don’t know
I tear them off of each other
I feel each one
Skin tearing
Pinching persistant flakes
My face molting prematurely
Burning pink flesh beneath
Given a moment in the sun before being replaced
One day I scream
I pull them off en masse
Fistfuls of thin lips, smiles and frowns
I pull out the eyes
My vision clearing as the layers retract
Brighter and brighter
Too bright
Searing pain
But curiosity persists
My faces drift to the floor
like wings ripped from a fly
At last I feel the final one between my fingers
Its thicker than the others
Hard like plastic
I raise my hand to feel it
But hesitate
It clings to my own skin like glue
It tear it away
My yells – muffled
Arms swinging wide
I can hear it clatter to the floor
But what’s this
No brighter is the light
In fact, it has gone
I see nothing but blackness
I howl in confusion but I am still muffled
My hand rubs across my face
Smooth, empty, sealed
No eyes, and no mouth
I am finally myself it seems
I fall to the floor and crawl blindly
The last mask clatters beside me
I lift it to my empty face
It no longer sticks
Or seems to fit
I can feel its features
A smile
Cheeks tight
Eyes raised
I slam it to my face
Pushing till my muscles burn
Wishing I could crack my skull to fit it
My grip tightens
The plastic creaks
And shatters
I gasp without breath
Reaching my hand to my sore face
I feel definition
An expression at last
Though not of happiness
But of sorrow



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