Sunday, April 5, 2020

Black Boy Wears a Mask During a Pandemic

Standing still, social and distant
Any soft touch is filled with suspicion
But this is what I know
Affection tinged with bitter hate
You would freeze if you saw me
Disrobed, a wisp in your forgotten history
Tragic – the practiced ice of my breath

Considered viral at all times
The shifting of my skin from suburb to suburb
Black contorts to green lawn and red wine
I was Black before you were sick and
I could be the first to go
Pandemic – the lift of my rising lungs

Cloth wrapped around my face
Darker than black
Pull it off and I can lighten up at any moment
Every day is a mask
Every day has been a mask
In which I have been seen and keenly avoided
When you cross the street
Grip your purse
Hold your dog back from the onslaught
Catastrophic – my full and rising blood