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from the June 2020 issue

On Masks

In two poems, Yu Jian considers the emotional and physical roles of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dearest

Great facial mask   
now is the time to tell you that I love you
my dearest
my little prison
take custody of my mouth


The Man without a Mask

I don’t have a mask
when I phone someone for help
I behave as if I don’t care
dignified expressions      like those in first-class cabins on a sinking ship


“至爱” and “无口罩者” © Yu Jian. By arrangement with the author. Translations © 2020 by Shuyu Guo. All rights reserved.

Read more work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic from writers around the world.


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