under the gaslight

in the haze of the gaslight
you crafted masks
for me to wear
and told me when to wear them

you warned me
to never take them off,
to always hide myself,
because the world is full of monsters

there was one for when i was sad:
an ugly face full of rage and violence
so i could pour my sadness into fire
and temper the steel of daggers

there was one for when i was afraid:
a stolid face lacking depth or emotion
so i could channel my fear into silence
until the monsters slid away

there was one for when i was happy:
a rictus smile holding watch for the chaos
so i could amplify my fleeting joy
into a perversion of itself

and i learned to wear them,
one on top of the other,
as you had told me to do

but the gaslight has gone out
and the dawn is coming
and i have no more desire for masks

so i will set them aside
and show my true self

— Clio 04.13.21

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