From the Pumpkin under His Mask

an attempt at a poem at a time when all attempts at prose have been suspended

An actor, I think an actor, or a Personage pretending
to be an actor pretending to be a Personage Who Knows
Something tells me that we will be wearing masks soon.
Should be now . . . The gov’t is at the point of issuing
an order demanding a recommendation that maybe soon . . .

Then, after the fat man with the orange skull-mask
has interrupted the Personage to repeat what
the Personage has just said and added that
there are millions of masks available and that “they
are beautiful masks,” if I recall the unrecallable rightly,

I am informed by the fleeting ghost of another Personage
that the states are responsible for getting out the masks
(which are both plentiful and beautiful) after they
have requested the masks from . . . but we don’t have masks
in the U. S warehouses where all the masks are . . .

and Orange-Skull-Mask-Man interrupts again to inform
who may or may not be listening that plenty of (beautiful?)
masks . . . uh . . . might be got . . . uh . . . or . . . uh,
er (that was a nasty question) . . . or bought, er,
from companies overseas (somewhere) who bought masks

from, uh, companies in the U. S. who seem to have bought
masks from the gov’t. (U. S.) representatives of which
(Whitewash House) who extracted them from General Motors,
where masks may or may not have been made, uh,
depending on . . . whether we are perfectly

informed, I would wander off now into the peril
of the local mercantile system, where I advised not to go
without a mask, in order to find a mask in order to shop
for a mask in relative safety. But I’ll stay home instead
and watch tv, because I don’t dare miss any announcement

that might make sense.
Or not. Or not. Or not.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.