The Demon Speaks
by Robbi Nester
     After a Sri Lankan Sickness Mask from Horniman Museum

I am Kora Sanniya! Anyone I touch falls lame. No one
can defeat me, least of all those fools, with their drum
and dance, that stupid wooden mask. It’s nothing
like me, with its crooked grimace, eyes bulging
like a frog’s, ears like spoons. The shaman dips
and dances, pretending to be me, his bulging belly
bouncing, and the mask, it makes them laugh!
He mocks me, and the other demons crow
and point. Even the patient grins, when he
should moan and weep. I lost my face. Another
claimed it, stealing my voice, my name.

Photo of sickness mask © Horniman Museum and Gardens.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem to be included in my upcoming anthology, but thought it might attract a few more submitters to have this appear in Silver Birch Press first.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester wears masks herself quite frequently these days to ward off Covid-19. She is the author of four books of poetry and editor of three anthologies, including a new one, The Plague Papers, which celebrates online museums, zoos, aquariums, and virtual collections of all kinds. People who wish to participate must choose an object, work, or specimen from such a collection and write a poem or short piece of prose. Send it to The current deadline of May 31, 2020 will be extended to June 30, 2020. Send your work as a Word document and include your name, email address, and a link to the object you’ve written about.