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The Masks

 


The Masks


  - Anuradha Bhattacharyya (India)

 

 

Blue, white and green have always been

Signs of stuffy hospitals

And I’d shudder when ill,

Just to think I’d get

Infections unasked for

From crowds in a major hospital.

 

I’d much prefer the blue of the sky

And the green of the grass

In my backyard

Where cohabit mosquitoes

Flies, ants and ladybirds

With squirrels, parrots

And the black but lovable crow.

 

But suddenly there’s news

That all of us are germ carriers.

All of us must wear

Those grim signs of illness,

Symptoms or no.

 

Masks for us have always been signs

Of robbery, stealth and fear.

Masks symbolize deceit, disguise,

Comedy, masquerade and mime.

 

Those masks now appear to be

The simplest sign of care

To protect another from oneself;

These also resist a bit of the venom

Of our hands and the air.

 

Masked men, masked women,

Masked little children

And masked dogs and cats;

Though friends appear strange

And we may also get scars

From masks and a headache from that,

Masks we must wear.