plastic white Halloween mask of a neutral-faced expression held up in front of a blurry, outdoor background
plastic Halloween mask
Photo by Laurentiu Robu on

I act every day,

if the party’s too noisy I tuck my distaste away

if I feel like collecting sixteen maple seeds and throwing them in the parking lot

but there’s strangers around, I’ll act like I’ve got no interest but walking, not

skipping, or hopping, or tiptoeing over the sidewalk cracks.

I know how to act

how to smile to reassure people I’m listening,

how to stare at their noses like our eyes are actually contacting–

but put me on a stage or before a camera and I’ll freeze

because my acting degree

has taught me

acting isn’t something you do for the emotion,

the story, the character devotion–

you do it to survive

and hide

you don’t display the character of you,

because no production wants you for the protagonist,


love interest,

and you stick like a sore thumb from the ensemble,

so you act

and blend into the audience,

raising your hands in deafening applause.

5 thoughts on “masking

  1. I loved the poem. I think many of us act to survive. There are parts of ourselves we hide deep inside and there are things we say to stay safe and not stick out of the crowd. That’s just life sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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