The Beautiful Imposter


You say sometimes you don’t recognize me
Turning to look a complete stranger
Wearing my face is watching the T.V.
It scares you, until my face rights itself
Subtly shifting back to familiar form
When I smile over at you.

I’ve told you before though
There is no me to know
That is my armor
Beneath the skin there is nothing
But bailing wire and straw
Nothing that can be hurt
Bleeding only dust.

One day, I may show you
My wardrobe, full of masks, costumes
Bright feathers and dark, old leather
You can pick out the faces, the moods
That you like best
Perhaps even try a few on yourself
Get lost yourself down the aisles and twisting avenues
Of the vast theater beneath my ribs.

Tread these old boards
We can put on a show, you and I
“The Happy Lovers” or some similar such tragedy
That one always goes over so well
Never a dry eye in the house after that one
But such catharsis, don’t you think?
Purgation of emotion by its perfection
And I am a well practiced mummer.

So don’t be frightened
If one mask slips askew for a moment
The one beneath might suit your fancy better
I can be everything you want me to be
Save me
(For there is no me)
But there are so very many more pleasing impostures
I can play out for you.

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