Karen L. Oberst - Poetry - A Label is a Mask Life Wears

A Label is a Mask Life Wears
by Karen L. Oberst

What do I call you?
How do I pin you down?
Are you tall? Short?
Male? Female?
Young? Old?
How much easier to drop a label over you
Than to get to know you.

Labels start early.
He's all boy.
Nice girls don't push.
Boys play baseball with Dad
Girls learn to cook with Mom.

When I tell you my labels, what do you see?"
Resident of Klamath Falls
So many more.

I slip into my labels like a mask
Sometimes one, sometimes another.
They nicely keep you at arm's length
Even when I wish you would look closer.

How do we see past labels?
We listen until we hear the
Uniqueness of each other.
Let me listen to your story,
And you listen to mine
Until we know each other
Rather than our labels.

* From a line in Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

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This page last updated January 15, 2015.