Masked meandering

Walking outside 

with a mask on

has made me acutely aware 

I can no longer communicate 

nonverbally by way of smile.

I didn’t realize how much I smiled at strangers 

until I no longer could. 

My walk-smile sans mask

typically greets 

or concedes space 

or acknowledges humans.

My walk-smile with mask

is now a quandary concealed.      

Strangers currently see 

black orbs covering eyes and a colorful bandana

directed toward 

their loyal, perky dog ready for a standoff

or their kids zestily counting for hide and seek.

Walking outside 

with a mask on

breeds interactions devoid of back and forth emotion.

Behind my mask 

I relish in strangers’ moments of play

nostalgia knocking for the days of innocent childhood games 

and pre-Covid-19 exchanges

emotions confined to me 

no longer shared.

Walking outside 

with a mask on

means my muffled hello and tentative wave must suffice.

I certainly cannot wait 

for the days to walk outside

and unmask my smile.

Photo by Kat Jayne on

4 thoughts on “Masked meandering

  1. This poem had me cycling back over lines and feeling the loss of communication that comes from small gestures. We really are grieving losses large and small. At least we have our words to connect us.


  2. Masks are protecting us from a lot more than just the virus. They are keeping us from those wonderful human interactions as you wrote about in your poem. I totally agree with
    “I certainly cannot wait
    for the days to walk outside
    and unmask my smile.”

    Thank you for the poem.


  3. Loved the line, “A quandry conceled.” It seems like there are so many quandries these days. How do I shop safely? Should I run with or without a mask? Great imagery with the dog and the bandana. It made me picture a dog looking up at a person wearing a bandana and wondering why it wasn’t around the person’s neck. Thanks for sharing!


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