Your invitation didn't note
that masks were required

when I joined your
October masquerade
I came naked face
tender hands
as we fluid bonded
within the musical strains
of our mutual pleasure

and when, beneath
the soft snowfall
of November's ballroom,
our eyes danced
as you kissed me still
I thought the catch of your breath
revealed a beginning
rather than obscuring an ending

see, I only had eyes for you
I didn't know this
was less a date
and more a party
animal themed
within the savagery 
of social niceties.

so when you donned
your magpie plumage
plucked from the
epiphanies of summer
I couldn't see that 
your corvid gaze
was looking through
the kindred spirit
of my teal-winged eyes
parading postures
before the empty room
all my held space
afforded you.

I didn't hear
that masked owl
in the shadows
preying quietly with
taloned words
and the contortion of
turned head retrospect,
a romantic kind of danger.

for you see
owls kill magpies
and every true magpie knows
there is safety in numbers
in mobbing threats
through built tribe trust.
I long ago inked her
long-tailed clan
upon my back
to have my back.

still, my thin skin
is no mask,
my magic doesn't come
from costumed defense.
It has always been
humbly present
in my close kin connections,
the way I unmask myself.

imagine then, how small
how vulnerable I felt
as you unveiled
the hidden world
of your masquerade
while I stood
in the center of
all the lavish word finery
an unadorned fool.

after all
every magpie knows
one is for sorrow

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