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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