All the Things We Are Not

we are not

The space between my hip and my rib where my skin slides in, just a bit, not as much as it used to.

In that space, still, there is an absence of me.

A pause in the music, a beat, an expected thing. Anticipation and hesitation. In that moment, there is an absence of fulfillment.

A young girl verbalizing everything she sees, calling out flowers, a makeshift chain swing, and a discarded cigarette butt that has something feathery at the end. “The filter,” says her father. In that observation, there is an absence of fear.

A faceless man, his back turned so we only see what he contemplates. Is he fearful? Fulfilled? Is he thinking about this or something else? In that scene, there is an absence of truth.

A candle surrounded by dark. It is that darkness to which moths are attracted. The light makes the dark brighter. In that dark, there is an absence of light.

A bowl of small round forms, collected together on a stem. Grapes. They are cushioned by unshapely pockets of space. In this space, there is an absence of purple.

In all the yelling and cursing, the screaming and spitting, the steaming lips and waving hands, there is hatred, noise, and confusion. In this hysteria, here is an absence of breath.

I hold down a space next to me, pulling it closer. It is warm but could be warmer. All the things we are not, surround me coldly. In this moment, there is an absence of you.

A stranger opens up, lightly at first, then coaxed by his broad smile, his nod at her hat, pointing at his own. It matches. They smile together, openly, respectfully. Across all prejudice and judgment, all silence and darkness. A shared care.

It is the presence of hope.



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