Mask by Hawra’a Khalfan

Standing
side by side-
covered
top to tip
sweating.
Longingly wishing
to free our
pale skin to the sun.
Walking,
hand in hand,
smothered:
thought to breath
in lust for impulse.
Searching
without meaning.
Roasting
Our skin,
Our blood,
Our bones,
Our veins.
Slowly, roasting but
cycling.
Aimlessly.
Shoulder to shoulder.
Trying to understand
the world;
Touching everything but
getting burned and
moving on.
Daring to question once,
but facing loud voices shouting to
shut
up. To
stop
thinking. To
follow.
Follow.
Follow
the rules.
“SHUT UP.”
We’re repeating to
our wandering thoughts.
“Follow.”
We’re repeating to our damp skin.
They say.
They said.
They’re always repeating
that if you
place your lips
on wounds and suck-
You’ll remove the poison
that is infiltrating.
But what they’re not telling you is
the hardest of all the poisons is
the stagnancy
that is continuing
to fill our veins;
simplifying our minds.
Daily,
we’re striding
silently.
Wearing our layers of silk gracefully
masking our impurities.
Side by side.
Hand in hand.
Shoulder to shoulder;
Afraid to let go of each other
seeking that physical reminder
that captivity breeds resilience.

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