“Mask & Name” by Sado Marinovic

2022 Best of the Net Nominee

Every mask I’ve ever owned was
Put away with your first cry, 27
Hours and 7 minutes long
Going insane, Mama doubled
Over in pain, fearstruck face
Measuring the loss & gain, we
Laughed like hell when the epidural

Kicked in, nurses thought us crazy
We thought them angels come to save
Us in our helplessness, deliver
You wrinkled, bloodfull, brand new, your

Cry rippled my body and I
Cried too, reeled against the wall
Midwife misunderstood, to calm
Me said It’s not a cry just a
Child’s hello call. It was a joyrage
Weep unmasking a strawman,
Nameless until the day you cheep
DaDa, still quite a few sleepless
Ways away, come here they called

MaMa held you breastbright, I
Gingerstepped to bedside, said hello
And then, to still the crying, said
NoNo and you stopped, silence swelled
To a godchant, pulsed to our
Trident heartpound and with catseye
Glaze cast more or less my way , reached
Toward the voice you’d heard for nine
months long.

Somewhere between the way
You and your mother look at me
Is where I’ll always belong.

Sado Marinovic is a writer of poetry and short stories. His style and themes are heavily influenced by his immigrant background. Along with literature, Sado has fueled his passion with work in film and music. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son.

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