This image is of Peggy (R), then a 19 year-old SNCC member, next to future civil rights icon, Dr. Dorothy Cotton (L), after a 1962 church burning in Georgiathe state that Peggy's great-great grandparents, William & Ellen Craft, famously escaped from slavery nearly 115 years earlier...

MY

WEEKLY 

WORD

7.4.20

Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

Dr. Dorothy Cotton

BEHIND OUR MASKS:  A POEM FOR THE 4th OF JULY

Behind our masks

Lies the inconvenient truth

Of who we really are as a country

In all our naked un-splendor.

It is our flag to cover the self who struggles each day;

Unsure of what we can do about what we know we must do.

Behind our masks

dare we breathe?

Dare we speak our own truth

about what we have done

OR

what we have not undone.

Behind our masks

is a small space… between the world and the self.

If we rage out loud, if we spit out our truths

If we push the droplets of fear outward,

Beyond the safety of our masks

Would our words stick and cloy

OR

would they rise up, push out,

Allow the self to have its own language of renewal

AND

join with communal uplift to bring hope?

OR

will the mask harbor a fetid breath we recognize as our own shame?

Does the mask protect the voice or stifle it?

Does to wear the mask become our bold position in the world,

OR

our excuse for non-speak, our platform to not-do, to embrace silence?

Will we allow the mask to be our personal American flag of white-wash,

our individual camouflage to hide behind…

Our excuse to turn away from one another,

Deny this catastrophe we have ourselves created.

OR

will we brave the mask, permit ourselves an uncomfortable face-to-face

AND

collectively look above

AND

beyond

the mask

AND

work to create this country’s bold promise

AS. YET. UNBORN.

                                               

                                                          — Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

© 2020 Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely. All rights reserved.

© 2016 - 2020 by Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

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