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Women don't wear a mask of many colors
Nor one that attracts
But an invisible, obscure covering
A sometimes protective shield
Not crafted nor conjured by Merlin
But one dispensed to herself
Worn as necessity
When words tipped with hurt
Are hurled her way
The voice gets lower and slower
The shoulders droop
Strangled words are stilled
Her mask is on
It is the outward significator
The outward display of mastery

But sometimes. . .

Like a hawk, we detect the silky,
Insincere, sly, fakeness
Of other females
First, the Cheshire smile slides open
As if on greased teeth
Then we hear her sugary, slippery voice
Is she desirable? demure? darling?
No, blind male
Her mask is on

written 2/14/96