Thank to Clare MacQueen for posting this poem in MacQueen's Quinterly:
Clowns, on the other hand, are frightening with their fake happy faces and big feet and lots of frothy red hair made out of string. Mimes are a close second. Maybe it’s all that white-face?
At the Halloween party, who is that masked man? Who pretends to know me, to ask me to dance or buy me a drink? Who is sidling away?
Then there are bank robbers, in their pulled-up bandanas, or ski masks. Are they for real, or playing badass with the pandemic? Should I cross the street, or wave hello? Not wanting to offend.
Who wants to piss off a mugger, a stalker, a predator? The Masque of the Red Death or death itself, and what about the ones with the grinning Joker face, humorous or hostile?
And those awful times you forget your mask, walking the dogs, like normal times, until you realize the one strangers are glaring at is you, and you turn away, ashamed, risking traffic, not to offend, to infect.
And the stories about people who cough on babies or push security guards to the floor in the grocery aisle because Bygod! it’s their constitutional right not to wear a mask!
Give me a raccoon doing what it does in the garbage can any day. Safe and predictable. Making the kind of mess I can do something about.