Almost The Same
-Laurie Benson 2021

My tongue went in and out
of the small plastic mouth
when I was Cinderella,
year 1971.

Her golden hair
and beautiful crown
made me feel like
twirling.  Being
so careful to pull the
elastic gently,
not wanting to
break the spell.

Not hiding behind,
or masking up for
any reason except
to play the game of
trick-or-treat and
Halloween.  School
carnivals, caramel apples
and belonging.
One Cinderella amongst
many Cinderellas and
Prince Charmings.

Two holes for eyes,
one for the mouth and
sometimes, slits for
the nostrils.

Creations of stone, plastic,
copper, wood, leather, 
bones, feathers, plaster.
  Cultural, comical, ceremonial.
Pantomime, protecting, pretending.
Medical, musical, malevolent, murder.

A masquerade ball,
glass slippers and a gown,
maybe even a crown.
Gloves to the elbows,
a fine ride in a carriage,
the long walk up, and
the hurried running away.

Masks are almost the
same. Almost used for
the same thing, 
almost required, almost accessible,
almost memorable, almost effective, 
almost available, almost covering
your nose, almost always found on 
the ground in a parking lot
next to a glass slipper.