Carnival

By Rebecca Lindenberg Rebecca Lindenberg
The mask that burns like a violin, the mask
that sings only dead languages, that loves
the destruction of being put on. The mask
that sighs like a woman even though
a woman wears it. The mask beaded with
freshwater pearls, with seeds. The plumed mask,
the mask with a sutured mouth, a moonface,
with a healed gash that means harvest. A glower
that hides wanting. A grotesque pucker. Here’s
a beaked mask, a braided mask, here’s a mask
without eyes, a mask that looks like a mask
but isn’t—please don’t try to unribbon it.
The mask that snows coins, the mask full of wasps.
Lace mask to net escaping thoughts. Pass me
the rouged mask, the one made of sheet music.
Or the jackal mask, the hide-bound mask
that renders lovers identical with night.

Rebecca Lindenberg, “Carnival” from Love, an Index. Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Lindenberg. Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.

Source: Love, an Index (McSweeney's Publishing, 2012)

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Poet Rebecca Lindenberg

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Living, Love, Romantic Love

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Rebecca  Lindenberg

Biography

Rebecca Lindenberg earned a BA from the College of William & Mary and a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah. Her essays and criticism have appeared widely, and she has been a guest blogger for the Best American Poetry Blog. Her collection of poetry, Love, An Index (2012), focuses on her relationship with her partner, the poet Craig Arnold; Terrance Hayes described the poems as a “litany of losses . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Love, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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