A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

The Mask I Wear

Ed Shacklee

The mask I wear’s too small a size
to fit me now, with holes for eyes.
Anonymously debonair,
this circle forced upon a square,
a child’s pretense, a man’s disguise

on tight enough to muffle cries
as grins and grimaces revise
my false front’s artificial flair.
The mask I wear—

chameleon, playing solitaire—
is glossed with lies to lionize
a bridled beast within its lair:
behind the paint, I see it glare
as what I’ve starved inside denies
the mask I wear.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. His poems have appeared in 14 by 14, The Flea, Light Quarterly, Lucid Rhythms and Shot Glass Journal, among other places.


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