glasses Joe1958-59
Mask of Glass
by Joe Cottonwood

I wore a mask of glass
bottle bottoms
at age eleven,
clear not black
but feeling disguised,
akin to Lone Ranger.
Later, protective
safety plastic
darkening in sunlight
always separating
out there
from in here.

Sometimes briefly
the mask I strip
for a delicious
naked eye blinking fresh
in a murky river of air
where voices vibrate
from vague faces.

Without the mask
me you see.
You I don’t.

PHOTO: The author at age 11.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I still remember the first word out of my mouth after putting on my first pair of prescription eyeglasses: “Wow!” Suddenly the world was sharply defined. Sadly, though, I soon felt strangely hidden behind that same glass.

Joe shades hat

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses as carpenter/ contractor in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book is Foggy Dog. Visit him at