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The mask? Because we were never ugly
enough. Because our ugliness was epic.
Because we were given to it, because
we were so misgiven. You wear one. I
wear one. Yes. Kings, Pharaohs had them
fabricated, poured out in gold and beaten.
Most wore them to the grave. In Mexico
the living wear them, not to scare the dead
away, but as invitation. They leave candy
on the mounds of those they mourn. New
Orleans? Women wear them in order
to bare everything else. Men wear them
in order to watch. I can remember, back
before it all grows grim, making one
out of the news, trying to paste it together.
I remember my mother helping me. I don’t
really remember my father. Something
like a face, like the man in the moon.
I understand we’re hardwired this way,
to make faces before anything else.
It’s why we see the Madonna in mold,
alien architecture in Martian crater creep.
We keep looking for those first faces, first
familia. Every culture, every eon. Witness
the oldest we know, his cave, his wall, one
hundred seventy centuries gone. They call
him Sorcerer. They call me Knight.
We have always lived in the dark.
Source: Poetry (October 2011)