June 23rd

By Kiana Martin

you wore the mask of deceit so well it was hard to distinguish what the true characteristics of your face were
I didn’t know that the bridge of your nose wasn’t, in fact, the curvature of a perfectly-delivered lie
or that your lips sometimes spoke beautiful words and weren’t at all drooping with vulgarity and
salivating with hate
and how was I supposed to know that your eyes did, in fact, contain life and weren’t just frosty
windows to an empty house

no, no, with you it was so hard to tell what was true
you spoke so perfectly of an ideal life and in convincing tones made me believe that my values were
yours and your heart mine
and I was so sure that the electric feel of your hand was fate and not intuition playing at the pit of my
stomach
and when the details of your story failed to sync up to the time of your arrival
I wrote it off as a natural flaw of human memory
oh, she must have forgotten that that store closed two hours ago
or that last tuesday
well, last tuesday she was working, wasn’t she?

And even when you gently sat me down, my right hand in the palms of yours
your eyes brimming with what looked like authentic diamonds
and that voice of yours, once harsh and brash, now slow and velvet with emotion said
I don’t love you anymore. I can’t do this.
I wrote it off as your duplicitous nature rearing its ugly head
you see, this was the deceit I was talking about
the lies you spin, you have to stop, you can’t
you can’t just say things like that
you can’t keep on doing this to me
but when I looked up
my hand was returned to my lap
your tears left small, unrecognizable stains on the couch
and your mask lay on the floor next to my feet
its eyes vacant, its lips snarled
and my heart knew what it could never understand

"Masks" by Brian Snelson

“Masks” by Brian Snelson

Kiana Martin is a lover and (occasional) writer of fiction and poetry, with work published in online literary journals. When not sitting at her dining room table attempting to construct a sentence, Kiana and her husband enjoy exploring the city of Los Angeles, discovering new favorite restaurants, and walking the streets of their beloved neighborhood. To contact Kiana, please email kiana.bayron@gmail.com.

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