MASKS
 
I had to wear a mask
To protect me from you
The fear of someone seeing 
Me imperfect, as I was,
Frightened me
 
You wore a mask, too,
For what reasons I 
Could not tell but
Most likely similar 
Pain or sorrow
 
With time, I learned 
To believe in myself
That I could brave others
Knowing I was not
Perfection or even close
 
People saw me for 
Who I was and did not
Run away or tell me
To put the mask back on
They just saw me
 
And you removed
Your mask as well
Taking your chance
With life and love and
Learning to trust
 
Now we all have to wear masks 
To protect others from us
The world cannot risk
A contagion we carry
The sickness of our times
 
Some day we will not
Need to wear these masks
And will see each other
For who and what we are
Tomorrow. Soon. Please.
 
Wayne Goodman
Wayne Goodman

I have lived in Vallejo for 20 years and participate regularly in the Benicia Outlaws Writing Group. I’m not known as a poet, mostly as a historical fiction writer (mainly LGBTQ) and host of Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives (www.queerwords.org). Your recent request for poetry during these challenging times made me think about submitting this, something I just wrote yesterday.


Bio: Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). Goodman hosts Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives. When not writing or recording, he enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.