I close my eyes
and the fireflies flee;
the light is gone.


I am in the dark,
alone and unmasked.
No pretense required.


No need to smile
and pretend everything
will be all right soon.


Fairy tales are often grim;
happily ever afters
are not guaranteed.


The world is dark,
and I am overwhelmed
by the hatred and fear


that sprays the air
with tear gas and Covid.
So I wear the mask


and force optimism
I don't really feel
to find its way to my eyes


when I smile
and tell you to stay well.
I know you do the same.


What choice do we have
but to hold onto hope
illuminated by fireflies and starlight?


But for now the fireflies have fled;
I am in the dark,
alone and unmasked.

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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