‘Mask’ by Shira Yaacobi-Gross, age 14

There is a mask upon my face,

That I have forged of fears.

Taking inspiration,

From all that’s made my tears.


Their looks.

My metals,

And their words an endless flame.


Of my own regrets,

That I shall never tame.


It’s burning through my skin,

No matter how I plead.

It brings me so much pain,

And yet I never bleed.


I try and try to rip it off,

But its chains are in my skull.

And yet I shall still pull and pull,

But all the hope is null.


My struggling draws their glares,

Reinforcing twisted binds.

Hopes and passions endlessly trapped.

A drive within,

rendered blind.


A façade given life,

With no purpose, but to fake.

Truth, buried deep inside,

Under the fear of a mistake.


A shrivelled soul

Small and weak,

Begging for a break.


A giant beast

Fangs of mind,

Keeping it awake.


And I’m yearning for relief,

But the mask won’t let me beg.

My voice a whisper through the iron,

As the chains creep down my leg.


It might be that they’re right,

I belong among the fae.

Maybe I’m a changeling,

Some creature on display.


Even now,

I hear a sound,

With no wish to be free.

The mask brings a safety,

Along with agony.


Yet here,

As I write this,

Small shards become unbound.

A voice beginning to awake,

Flame yet to be found.


The crushing metals are still there,

They may forever be.

But for a few

fickle moments,

I feel no need to flee.