Stepping from the shadows
With a somber sigh
He slides a mask over his face
And joins the celebration
Weaving through the crowd
He grins and laughs with the rest
Then fades back to the dark
Without a trace

As rain patters against the street
Sparkling with fluorescent light
The mask falls away
And another takes its place
Head down, shoulders tucked
Coat pulled in against the cold
His splashing footfalls echo
Along the empty road

Unlock, open, close, and lock
Lights turn on and mask comes off
Replaced at once with yet one more
As four-legged joy bounds near
He kneels and laughter, clear and bright
Resounds from the mask’s wide smile
Filling the room with light
While cracks begin to show

Alone, withdrawn, the light grows dim
The face in the mirror
Drops to the floor
Bright eyes, weary but strong
Gaze back with courage faltering
And the weight of a thousand faces
Draws deep creases in the one
That lies beneath

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