I wear a mask --

a plastic smile --

to betray a past

of innocence defiled.

I train my voice

to sound sincere,

to hide the hurt,

regret, and fear.

I put on a facade of

confidence and grace.

And deny the meaning of the tears

running down my face.

I square my shoulders

and hold my head high.

I wait for the rain

that disguises my cries.

I pull myself together

and I talk the talk.

I suppress my emotions

and I walk the walk.


I take on the chore --

an awful task:

I wake up each morning

and put on a mask.


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