behind a mask

swinging long hair behind her
she finds moving harder than ever
her limbs won’t obey her whims
too many phases of the moon
not enough dawns in her memory
walking by hordes each with stories
she carefully avoids interaction
for fear of her fears rising to meet her
easier to pass by rather than through

my heart breaks when I see her
so fragile and almost empty
behind the thin vellum she hides
her face animated
more a grotesque mask
betraying a life within

does she recall her youth
toiling in fields in hot summer
walking to school in the snow
falling in love at the diner
or is she already buried
a walking ghost

does she know her loneliness
is etched upon her face
and that all could change
if she opened
unhinged her rusty gate
she says it’s too late
with a crooked grin
but somehow
there has to be a way

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