Masks

He teases her
He laughs at her
One of her own laughs at her
Calls attention to the outside signs of her obsessions
Calls attention to the minuet differences between her body and others.

She cries

He says he's sorry, that he didn't intend to hurt her
and offers her a peace offering

still, she cries

He's sorry
and offers her a bribe not to tell a higher up

but still,
she cries

"Why do you cry?
I said I was sorry."
"That is not enough!" She explains
"You don't understand why I cry."
I'm sorry he repeats
and starts in on his ifs and buts
"I'm sorry" he reiterates
"truly I am"
"Believe me, I do understand."

but he doesn't

Smiling gamily
she returns her mask of
strength and serenity to its favorite position
on her face and says
"Not yet, but hopefully someday."

And off she goes.
Another mask among the masks
while he watches,
trying to understand what it is
that he doesn't understand
 


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