The mask I see in the mirror:
A woman who has come to love silence,
who sees life through prisms, hexagonal
planes like the vision
of flying insects, so much color
breaking against reason. Thin
eyebrows. Nose off center.
The mask I wore for my mother:
Bright in the way of silk roses,
more than once it threw dinner
crashing to the floor and yet
was afraid to disobey.
At night it stood at the top of the long stairs
just to hear her talking.
The mask I swore my mother wore:
Small clouds like lace
on the brow. Eyepieces
I couldn’t see through.
Even her small shoulders
would make me cry. When she died
I saw her face.
The mask I passed on to my children:
Comes late for dinner
and leaves early, clears the dishes quickly.
is all relatives alive or dead,
drunk, sober, or beautiful. Oh God, yes,
at least beautiful.
Everyone at the table finds a window,
stares intently through.