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It’s Almost 5pm and I’ve yet to Use My Voice

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The dogs sleep the appointed 16hrs a day

even while we’re all home, sheltered-in-place on top of one another all 24 of those hours. Sometimes, I think I’ll sleep the same. Outside, a steady stream of foot traffic— neighbors I’ve never known strolling past —sometimes, I do the same— sometimes, I wander my ghost town of a campus. Sometimes, I wonder why white bodies cross the street from my brown before I remember. We toss a wave, a subtle nod, as if to shrug off the distance. What does compassion look like when you can’t reach through the phone line, beyond the monitor, to comfort a grieving loved one? Maybe it’s space, not outer but empty, the air chickadees ride to flutter about the melting slush in our yard. Maybe it’s allowing for silence, for unproductive stillness. Maybe it’s a Fiona Apple album, arriving at the right time after 8yrs. Maybe compassion has always been subject to redefinition, courtesy of the space it occupies or doesn’t. Maybe it requires a letting go— of what? you’re not yet sure, but it clatters like gears, it whines like whirring machines made to idle.

Written by Sean Enfield



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