The Mask and The Mirror

From “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar:

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–

From “Covering:the Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights” By Kenji Yoshino:

When we met again, she told me she disagreed we assassinated the selves that we did not choose to live. In her view, while the chosen self lived in Technicolor splendor, the unchosen ones lived on in black-and-white. It would be easier, she said, if assassination were possible, as those unchosen selves became the demons the bedeviled the chosen one.

The Mask and The Mirror by Sumayyah Talibah

to what end do we deceive?

covered and shaded

dressed up

in the lies of imitation

peeking through the veils

the hide our eyes

blocking the windows

to our souls

succumbing to

society and family

fearful of unlocking the gate

that guards

the unchosen self

the road not traveled

the voice that still strains

to be heard

why must we


to be something other than

what we were meant to be?

who says

who gets to choose

that who we are

is unacceptable


unlawful and



makes me



i rise

from the flames


with the shards

of useless disguises

falling from my hands

my shackles are broken

and here i stand

facing the mirror image

that i once feared

she smiles when

i smile

and greets me



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