The difference between secret and hidden.
Let’s start with intent
Secret is on purpose
Hidden may be squirreled away
But often it is erasure
like the gaps in records that shape
the scope and bias of archives.
Like “no women died,” the comment
on NY Times obituaries omitting
all kinds of nonmale, nonwhite people.
Secrets come wrapped in colorful psychology,
repressed, traumatic, foundational.
They fester and corrode and distort,
their impact all the greater
the less conscious they are.
HIdden seems to speak more
to the culture than the individual.
Stories, facts, scandals, events
that were lost, buried, submerged
or never deemed worthy of comment.
That now seems earthshaking, central,
a conceptual turning point.
Like the history of slavery,
under-researched, consigned to footnotes,
the perpetual skeleton in the closet
of American democracy
and the founding fathers.
Like the prevalence of family sexual abuse,
known but unspeakable, experienced
but little recorded.
Now that memory amends the documents,
we find it written in pain.
Like Indian removal,
while place names track Native Americans
everywhere in landscapes whose
lakes, rivers and mountains
no longer feel the tread of moccasins.
Hidden, available for rediscovery.
So, secret and hidden both yearn
for the light, await the probing eye
the questioning spirit that
“Things are more than they seem.”
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Kathleen Hulser is a writer, public historian, and activist. Currently she writes catalogs for amArtHouse Gallery in Bantam, CT and edits ArTour, a new culture magazine. She has been NY Transit Museum curator, New-York Historical Society public historian and has taught American History. She also creates public art projects such as The War of 1812 augmented reality cell phone tour. Her original walking tours include The Underground Railroad in New York, Lighted Signs of Times Square and Bad, Rad and Boho Women. She worked on curatorial teams for Slavery in New York, Nueva York, and Revolutions: America, France, Haiti.