Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask

Behind the mask

Hesitant, afraid, paralyzed to speak

Silence while shopping

Wordlessly wandering the store

Searching for

Avoid, avert eye contact

Cultural norm or taboo

Then smile with your eyes

“Smeyes” as Tyra Banks calls it

Saying Hello

Making connection

Wave instead of greeting

No communication

No idle conversation

CATA bus drivers link to normalcy

Routine schedule

Always arrive

Alone on the bus after Mother’s Day

Bus driver speaks about his mother

I descend the bus at work

Driver shares photos of mother and family

First human interaction since March

My family is overseas

When will I travel again

Behind the mask?


As an essential retail worker, I observed shoppers wandering aimlessly around the store, hesitant to ask for what they needed.

About the Artist

Mary Alice Pollock,  Centre County
Published:  August 24, 2020