James H. Smith

THEIR MASKS

At night they reach for the stars and moon.
But their nights are gone much too soon.
Then with coming of the day
All she can see are clouds in the way.
He returned from an unnamed war,
Memories he will carry for evermore.
She wears a transparent mask, at dawn
To hide their dreams that seem lost and gone.
He wants to touch and hold, saying words of love
Shadows haunt his eyes, emotions held in a tight fisted glove
Acid words drip from her tongue, words of hurt or fear
To pool at her feet and burn all that come near
He knows he’s not the same man who a year ago went away
Now he thinks, perhaps away I should there have stayed
Who are we? they ask, like actors of the stage, on the fly;
Changing masks with a thousand lies,
How does she get to know and love? She is always pushing others away;
But only on every other day.
What has he done that she can’t forgive, or say;
Making her punish herself this way?
Only she knows and can now forgive herself so well
And remove them both from her living hell.