matryoshka men

i keep thinking about the irony,
that accidental painted cruelty
of well-intentioned men, their mask-like
mime-like reflections climbing out of pools

every time i come across it- it
runs a line papercut fine
thin and wisdomless without
blood across an old old
old tough tough
tough length of tissue
chewy meat always there, always
leathered, always weathered better
for wear, no worse in sun or rain or spit

under a flap of young face, lip split,
peeling lift my mask along the chin
old skin, crone
skin, see it tucked against the bone
brick red, see if you can find
space between my skin
and sky, my eye and sun,
my silk and night, my voice and wind

lift your painted face –
if i touch you gently
(it’s ok)
when you are cruel
tell me: what would break?

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