The mask that burns like a violin, the mask
that sings only dead languages, that loves
the destruction of being put on. The mask
that sighs like a woman even though
a woman wears it. The mask beaded with
freshwater pearls, with seeds. The plumed mask,
the mask with a sutured mouth, a moonface,
with a healed gash that means harvest. A glower
that hides wanting. A grotesque pucker. Here’s
a beaked mask, a braided mask, here’s a mask
without eyes, a mask that looks like a mask
but isn’t—please don’t try to unribbon it.
The mask that snows coins, the mask full of wasps.
Lace mask to net escaping thoughts. Pass me
the rouged mask, the one made of sheet music.
Or the jackal mask, the hide-bound mask
that renders lovers identical with night.

  • Rebecca Lindenberg, “Carnival” from Love, an Index. Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Lindenberg. Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.

  • Source: Love, an Index (McSweeney's Publishing, 2012)

What People are Saying

"I learned to enjoy older poems. At first, I hated the requirement that I had to choose a poem that was pre-20th century. However, as time went by, I began to enjoy the poems more and more. My favorite pre-20th century poet is now Emily Bronte. "
Eseme Segbefia
2018 NY POL Champ