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In the middle of the night an invitation to a masquerade ball
arrives on March 13th, 2020
awaiting your awakening from blissful slumber.
The parties not exclusive, everyone is required to attend
and await the suspense.
The end date as unwritten as a paper test, everyone must stay
and be a respectful guest.
It’s the kind of party that’s a surprise,
jumping out at you when distracted
invoking your fight or flight.
It’s the kind of unknown,
that’s like guessing what your mom will make for dinner.
Either your favorite meal
or the crockpot awaiting your return home,
glaring from the kitchen counter.
When you entered the masquerade ball,
the flashing lights lead into a spacious ballroom
illuminated so harshly as if to showcase any flaw.
You find it humorous that the sea of guests
are wearing backwards masks,
the lower half of their faces draped in various fabrics
replacing where a smile or scowl used to be front row.
The mask warns you to stay away like a cloth stop sign.
don’t get too close, stay in your place,
and wait and wait and wait some more.
You thought masks were supposed to engulf the eyes
only to cover identity, but now the masks cover up any expression.
The only ounce of emotion left resides in their eyes
the upturned or downturned corners
a remaining luxury and disguise.
It was as if you stepped into an alternate dimension
attending a masquerade ball in reverse.
You observe the guests cautiously parting back and forth
standing on rows of X’s spaced
what feels like a sea apart.
The aura of euphoria starts to thaw,
as the second beginning of March comes into light.
The bittersweet reminisce of a time
before we were required to wear a disguise.
The only masks plastered over us were our fake smiles
or foundation as we wandered down the halls.
Unaware that our shallow world
would become so deep that
on March 13th, 2021
we are still struggling to breathe.