Gabrielle Freeman

Your Mask is a Gift
by Gabrielle Freeman

Let’s meet tonight. I’ll be Wonder
Woman, & you can wear your Batman mask.
I’ll take the rocker with the broken
slat if you take the one missing
an arm. Gift me with story, & I will gift
you with wine. Let’s drink until our hearts

forget we’ve been apart, forget that hearts
are just two-fisted vessels of muscle, wondrous
pumps. I will raise strong arms, turn, display my gift
for spontaneous costume change. Your mask
will not quite hide your eyes; I have missed
them. Without you, I have been broken.

It’s cliché, but each time we part, I break
a little more. My big, powerful heart
grips the empty space where you are missing
& drinks it in. I’ll lasso you & wonder
how I’ll let go. If I’ll be able to mask
the truth. Tell me the one about the gift

of a dark night, of the stolen gift
of stars, of conversation broken
only by the crime of sunrise when our masks
fell back into place. When my heart
clenched like a fist. I will wonder
at the texture of your cape, at your belt missing

bolas & batarangs. Proof that I miss
most of your life. We will drink to the gift
of time. I’ll tell you the one about the wonder
of life breathed into clay, of that which was broken.
You’ll tell me the one about hearts
and distance, about necessary masks.

Let’s meet tonight. Let’s drop our requisite masks.
Let’s fly away. Let’s go missing.
Let’s listen close as our fisted hearts
beat open. Let’s drink deep and gift
each other with nothing less than broken
roles & a shared sense of wonder.

Tonight, I greet your mask as a gift
because missing you unmasked breaks
my heart. My wonderful, fist-fighting heart.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Gabrielle FreemanGabrielle Brant Freeman won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. Press 53 will publish her first book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Gabrielle earned her MFA through Converse College. She lives with her family in Eastern North Carolina.

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