Disguise (I)

The best and worst
measured in the
thickness of veils,

or the heaviness of
stones cast in a
house made of ice

You kept it cool
in the summer, held
up mirrors for me

You saw yourself
in my begging and I
coiled around your leg

like a serpent hiding
in the azalea bushes
under your foot

You said to be grateful;
I didn’t like what I saw
in your crystal, in your

reflection, in your soul
And there was a balcony
to cry off of but you said

to keep quiet and not tell anyone
or I’d be hurt, so I cracked
my mask in half, gained

a wise mind to leave you,
sprouted eagle’s wings to fly away,
and chose a new facade to face

a world making me out to be a victim

Disguise (II)

A whole world
flung off
its perfect axis
by bottled red

Beneath the subtext,
I saw your true intentions
glittering atop navy waves

I heard a wrong note
in the same old song
sung from whiskey lips

There was a maelstrom
churning between us,
deep in my scarred guts

He would only
believe me
under the guise
of a wise old man

My foreign voice would whisper
to whoever would hear
that the voyage was amiss

The captain of the sinking ship
became blind to me after
I was sent to the prison below

Pleading with the brick wall
and screaming so the dog would
hear me over his dismissive barking

Wisdom is unwanted
when you’re
pointing out flaws
and chinks in suits of armor

You were captivated by
me, your captive sparrow,
with tender music in my parched throat

How many times did reality
have to be reiterated to you?
Its harshness weathered you so

I knew where you were by
the impression of a fresh
laugh line by another name

I dropped my muslin covering
revealing a steely reflective surface
where my scarred face
should have been

This is of your own making,
of your own doing
This is your forced mask

Published by Jennifer Patino


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