What happens Behind the Mask, Stays Behind the Mask

I can tell you

that

every girl-

,and indeed,

boy-child

learned how to cry

quietly

– no telltale noise, no telltale movement.

And you

,too,

know

it is true.


To be sure,

doesn’t everyone

– regardless of age –

know

how to accomplish

the same?


Every woman

caught in

a blinding

moment

of

panic

and rage

at the

system that binds

her

into “female,”

Every man

punching out

against

the undertow tide

of

masculine

that tells

him

that to

cry

is to be

a “sissy?”


2020 taught me

the

beauty

(and privacy)

,indeed the intermittent necessity,

of secretly

and quietly

crying

behind a mask.


Walking in public.

Shopping in a store.

In a socially-distanced meeting.

During a mental health check-up session with a suicidal friend.

Watching a black man being lynched in public, for all the world to see, while the white man doing the lynching arrogantly showed off for the cameras…

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