“Relic” by Russell Brakefield

Russell Brakefield


years from now I dislodge a mask

kneeling in a gas station parking lot

to suck crumbs from the consoles

half in and half out the passenger seat

I dislodge a mask from the floormat

flattened and streaked, folded on itself

like a wounded bird but still

retaining its feather-blue tint

ear straps flung aside like broken wings

its sunken breast smudged

where I once pressed my mouth

the downy screen through which

I filtered my life, where my words were

wrung out and carried off as on a soft wind

a dirty plume that held prayers

and songs and desperate transactions

where I said even I love you

in a muffled tone, where I said even

I’m home! standing in the doorway

forgetting, for a brief moment, which

were the safer parts of the world

from Poets Respond
November 22, 2020


Russell Brakefield: “As we encounter positive news about vaccines and look forward to a new administration’s response to the pandemic, I’ve been turning my mind to a post-Covid world, thinking about how we will live and interact with this time in history in the years to come.” (web)

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