Spring/Summer 2021 Issue – Identity

A Different Pandemic

Neha Khandekar

Some people might think it’s an inconvenience, 

But I actually love wearing a mask.

A piece of fabric perfectly conceals the ugly. 

It reduces the risk of someone catching imperfections 

or spreading their judgment.

If anything, masks make it easier to breathe. 

It covers up a smile, a frown, or a tear,

So no one can belittle, criticize or hurt. 

If everyone constantly wears a mask,

The world can always test positive 

For being perfect. 

Pandemic or not, we all wear a mask.

We hide ourselves behind one 

To protect ourselves

from the chance of rejection. 

But this barrier against the world

Is really just a shadow on ourselves. 

In reality, we’ve already caught the virus,

Symptoms are corrupting our identities. 

To stay safe from this pandemic, 

Follow the guidelines: 

Don’t compromise your identity,

Wash your hands often with love and acceptance 

to kill off any insecurities.

Social distance from the haters,

And instead of burying it in your elbow,

Learn to sneeze out to the sun.

So wear your ugly on the surface. 

Only the ill would hide or hate it.

When you finally stop masking your identity

And start being yourself, 

You’ll know you’re cured.

Vaishnavi Murthy