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Feeling at Peace in a Field of Turquoise
by Jeannie E. Roberts

Somewhere, there’s a mask, and somehow it was lost, left behind.
You tend to lose things, especially on walks — cram gloves
and hats into pockets, throw scarves over your shoulder,
though they slide, fall to frozen ground. Plodding across roads,

forging new paths, heavy boots as companion, you return home
overheated, beaded with heartiness of cold weather exercise.
Once, you found your favorite scarf mangled by snowplow.
You can’t fix terminal loss. Still, you tried to mend it.

The mask you lost, left behind was abstract, intangible,
sewn with interior stitches, yet, those with vision could see it.
Amid shadow, you stood before windowed gathering,
watched people share ready conversation, easy interaction.

You weren’t allowed to enter. Even so, you kept trying to pry
open the window. It’s as if your insight sensed something
amiss, created shield, energetic field, protection from further
frostbite and judgment — as if you were being guided elsewhere,

away from the human condition, the downside of humanity.
You don’t know. You do know the capabilities of the human
heart, its upside, generosity — the coronavirus has proven that,
for human beings have expressed compassion, united in goodness

and kindness, displayed courage and perseverance, as they help
others, risking their own lives in the process. What tangibles you
can’t fix, like scarf, you discard. What intangibles you can fix,
like windowed gathering, you transmute into brighter,

unified manifestations, where humanity shines as integrated
whole. Now, you wear fabric mask, patterned with peace signs
and flower shapes, a pandemic gift made by your neighbor.
Somewhere, somehow, you lost, left behind, the mask stitched

with inner longings, the one patterned with grief, loss, and panes
of separation. Although, you continue to lose things, overheat
when you walk, you feel at peace, like sea of Caribbean hydrangea,
patch of blue Himalayan poppies, where scent of lilac welcomes
field of turquoise.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The mask theme evoked many ideas: ceremonial masks of native cultures, masking one’s natural personality as a means of social conformity, internal masks and masking behaviors created as coping and survival mechanisms, and, of course, the protective mask worn to slow the spread of COVID-19. My poem is a journey of awareness, awakening, and of surrender.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeannie E. Roberts has authored six books, including The Wingspan of Things (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), Romp and Ceremony (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush (Lit Fest Press, 2015), and Nature of it All (Finishing Line Press, 2013). In 2019, her second children’s book, Rhyme the Roost! A Collection of Poems and Paintings for Children, was released by Daffydowndilly Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books. She is poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the StairsWhen she’s not reading, writing, or editing, you can find her drawing and painting, or outdoors photographing her natural surroundings. For more, visit her at jrcreative.biz.