Select verse from an upcoming book of poetry by Ted Onulak.


The Masks We Wear

Like a tender leaf

It unfolded

The face I know as my own

Innocent and curious

It cried over things beyond my grasp

And smiled when I was safe and warm


But slowly a mask began to form

With every do and don’t

Innocence in time was lost

As a casualty of war

Questions became secret thoughts

Hidden by the mask that kept me safe and warm


Behind the mask

My Self still grew

Like a butterfly in its armored shell

Waiting for the light of day

In this sheltering chrysalis

Uncomfortably safe and warm


At last from this prison freed

From which within I gnawed

To take my place among living things

In this vast, mysterious world

To fly by routes that were my own

Through both the flowers and the thorns

The mask in time

Would turn to dust

And would scatter in the wind

The mask that once kept me

So safe and warm

Was not needed any more

© 2012 Ted Onulak
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