Fancy dress masks
Ghostface Killer masks
Freddy Krueger masks
Tony Blair masks.
Domino masks for the secret ball
To hatch schemes and match-make
To flirt and fornicate.
Smooth white actors’ masks
In an impassive chorus to watch us.
An iron mask to silence a man
And kill him inside himself.
A Perspex mask in the radiation ward
An intimate thing, moulded to your face
To hold you still, your soul to keep
When they beat your brain with x-rays
When tumours replace your dreams
They clamped it so tight to your face
It left marks like alien make-up
In some cheap TV sci-fi,
But this isn’t sci-fi. We’re sitting
Here wishing it was, in the hospital
Car park where the heat
In your head won’t go away.
But that’s OK
Everybody needs a mask.