I see phantoms where there are none.
“You must be demon possessed,”
The pastor said.
“Let’s consult an exorcist”
I told my boss I had bipolar disorder.
“She must be unreliable,”
He thought.
And didn’t renew my contract.
The stranger pointed
“She must be dangerous,”
She said
As if I carried a gun or knife.
From inside myself, a tiny voice:
“I feel bad so I must be bad.”
Overwhelmed with shame,
I hid my differentness.
Stigma, a virus spreading
across America
The antidote: Empathy, compassion.
Your voice can spread the cure.

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