Who Is that Masked Man?

Gone, the squeal of doors
that hermetically seal our children,
sans seatbelts, into rows that overflow
beyond the cushioned seats
made softer to protect.

I miss the sights and sounds
of those pencil yellow buses,
absent now as if engaged
in perpetual
recess.

Teachers, students, and all
the stages in between are learning
an in depth meaning of furlough.
Suddenly we are aware of the slightest
sneeze, the merest twinge

that might propel us
into that hinterland of quarantine
where skin tone and language
merge into one,  and masks protect
both the guilty and the innocent.