Rebecca Lindenberg • Unsonnet: Carnival

The mask that burns like a violin. The mask
that sings only dead languages, that loves
the destruction of being put on. The mask
that sighs like a woman even though
a woman wears it. The mask beaded with
freshwater pearls, with salt. The plumed mask,
the mask with a sutured mouth, a moonface,
with a healed gash that means: harvest. A glower
that hides: wanting. A grotesque pucker
to suggest a heart whose valves won’t close.
Here is a beaked mask, a braided mask, here
is a mask without eyes. A mask that looks
like a mask but isn’t. Please don’t try
to unribbon it. The mask that snows coins
and the mask full of doves. Lace masks to net
escaping thoughts. Pass me that rouged mask, the one
made of sheet music. Or the jackal mask,
the hidebound mask, the mask that renders
the wearer identical with night. Mask
of a songstress that amplifies voices,
the lovers’ masks that conceal them.

Rebecca Lindenberg received a 2009-2010 Provincetown Fine Arts Center Fellowship and a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. She’s completing a PhD in poetry at the University of Utah.