In seventh grade we had to write a book of poems,
Each one in a different style, or using a different device.
One of mine was a shape poem, a tragedy mask,
Because I liked to act. I sketched the outlines
And started writing, about masks, and hidden identities,
And actors hiding their true selves. It was all
Very dark. I kept writing until I filled the mask,
Even its ribbons. Shape was more important than sense.
When I got the book back, on that page, my teacher
Had written something like, Very thoughtful.
And to this day I have been embarrassed for myself
That she read the shaped words for their sense,
And thought those thoughts were my thoughts.
(Even then I knew they were overwrought.)
And just now I remembered all this. How hilarious
That she took the words shaped as a mask for my voice.