Poem of the Day

San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck is curating a Poem of the Day with San Francisco Public Library for every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back daily for a new poetic offering from assorted local poets or view the archive of previous day's poems.


by Wayne Goodman


I had to wear a mask
To protect me from you
The fear of someone seeing 
Me imperfect, as I was,
Frightened me  

You wore a mask, too,
For what reasons I 
Could not tell but
Most likely similar 
Pain or sorrow  

With time, I learned 
To believe in myself
That I could brave others
Knowing I was not
Perfection or even close  

People saw me for 
Who I was and did not
Run away or tell me
To put the mask back on
They just saw me  

And you removed
Your mask as well
Taking your chance
With life and love and
Learning to trust  

Now we all have to wear masks 
To protect others from us
The world cannot risk
A contagion we carry
The sickness of our times  

Some day we will not
Need to wear these masks
And will see each other
For who and what we are
Tomorrow. Soon. Please.