I was born in a pandemic, shaped in the waters of strife, separated from my mother’s life-yielding placenta, thrust into a world infected by hate.
I am black and male. Born in the USA. I wear the mask. I cannot leave home without it. This is a matter of survival.
I have learned to wear the mask. Not the one that fits over my nose and mouth snugly and held at my ears. The mask that pretends that I am not who I am. The mask that makes my male blackness less threatening, more palatable.
That projects a veiled image of me.