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by Lana Issam Ghannam

One can no longer live with people. It is too hideous
and nauseating…like the two sides of a ghastly disease.

—D. H. Lawrence

I count three masks as I sit outside 
the hospital. White fabrics muzzle faces 
as if these faces belong 
to rabid animals, teeth 

chomping for the throats of passersby. 
Am I to expect these people to fall on their fours, 
to follow the next unparked car 

out of the lot
with their leashes 

dragging behind them? 

Where, I wonder, do these leashes 
come from? In a country 
that prints/pens/pours freedom
from empty pitchers, do these veiled creatures 

endure hosts/hordes/horrors 
of other monsters? Masters? How many more 
masks walk the hospital halls
while the rest of us breathe in the trees? 
Maybe none of them. Maybe all of them.
Maybe we wear these masks to call them crowns.

Lana Issam Ghannam

About Lana Issam Ghannam

Lana Issam Ghannam’s chapbook, Two Tongues, was published in June 2019 (Finishing Line Press), and her poetry has appeared in Burrow Press’s Fantastic FloridasMississippi ReviewPrism ReviewRaleigh ReviewSpoon River Poetry ReviewSukoon, and The Cape Rock, among other journals. She is a first-generation Palestinian-American, born and raised in Central Florida. She received her MFA from University of Central Florida in 2015 and teaches English composition. She loves reading and writing, though motherhood currently rules all.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.