elegy for masks

write an elegy – a poem that mourns or honors someone dead or something gone by. And I’d like to ask you to center the elegy on an unusual fact about the person or thing being mourned.

the whole time we been here we needed
another face to face the place we in
a sweet face to drift us through sour hunger
an honest face to cover the lie of ignorance
a mother face to gather up someone else’s child
while leaving our own wailing in the lean-to
a stoic face when something is taken from nothing, and for no reason
behind the faces we could breathe
the wet hot close stink air of life up against the edge of what a white world could handle

now our naked face can only say what is
everywhere we go our eyes seek the truth and bright up the moldy edges and unveil that we are not less than ourselves and not less than anyone else and our freedom has swollen us up, shaped us into a multitude of god’s face
the mask drips salt and water
into the dirt