Early October

By Brandon Lipkowski

Posted on

Affixed to your bedpost was
some mask I had made you
for Halloween maybe three years
ago, before I started to
scare you and before
I ruined holidays and important dates
and made you want to start
taking down all of your calendars
and reminders from your walls.

I spent an entire afternoon
thinking of you and of the sentimental
value in making something by hand
that would coincidentally outlast
our relationship,
and I got very caught up in the music
I had on and how much I
adored you,
and that the mask looked
sort of silly in the end,
like someone much younger had
been painting and adding shapes,
though it was coming from
a part of me only you came to understand.

Your birthday fell close to Halloween
and I had always loved scary things
and I had loved you for so long
that there wasn’t anything else to do
but make an arts-and-crafts project
and put it in a box wrapped up
in newspaper with a note that read

Even when you may be afraid of yourself,
you can never frighten me away.

I kept that promise and the mask kept
its shape, even though it only
took a few years to prove that I was
what you were most afraid of,
and then I had to go and now
no longer know what scares you.

The music that I’ve been listening to
does not remind me of you,
or of anything that you and I
could do or had done;
it reminded me of the silence
between something beautiful and
something tragic,
and how in that moment
everything freezes and
you don’t know how you feel

because you don’t really feel
anything anymore.

 Brandon Lipkowski