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Thursday, July 02, 2020


by Alejandro Escudé

Why Aren’t You Wearing a Mask? by Jen Sorensen at The Nib

T***p “sprays a mask on his face every day for vanity. But an actual mask that would protect other people, that, that, he just can’t do” –Anderson Cooper

Pull yourself up by your mask straps!
I work hard to keep myself and others safe,
but sometimes I too hate to have to reach up
for a mask hung like a hat on a makeshift
mask-rack in my entryway. I feel a strange
sweaty anxiety in needing to “muzzle”
myself, as you call it, and crave the feel
of fresh air on my face, unbridled breath.
But you of all people should understand
the logic of labor, the idea of work, you
who often block “entitlements,” who see
the world simply as divided between
those who can succeed and those who
cannot. I put on my mask of success!
I put on my mask and it is work to do so,
like raising a shovel, like crunching
the numbers, like mowing, like sewing
seeds, like picking stocks. I do my mask-
work because my kids depend on me
surviving and on their grandparents
surviving so that we can continue to work.
And I too am with you, I too put on my
mask and feel its claws dig into my skull.
I too rise in the morning to greet the sun-
disease for yet another day. But I mask.
And I wear my good work on my face.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.