Sitting with pain

“Our glance, our touch means nothing to it.
It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its.
For it, it is not different from falling on anything else
with no assurance that it has finished falling
or that it is falling still.”
excerpt from VIEW WITH A GRAIN OF SAND By Wislawa Szymborska

If you force it, it fractures,

or bends backwards against your will,

only to swing forward with a force

that knocks over all the dominos

you so carefully arranged.

If you standby and do nothing,

the swift waves surround you

and you sink. Breathless.

If you negotiate with it,

the Devil’s water tastes sweet.

Posing as nourishment, you long for another drink,

but neither sugar nor salt can satiate you.

The well stands dry, as though it never existed.

If you speak sweetly to it,

perhaps it speaks sweetly back.

For a moment, you hold hands in the park

or exchange smiles in the street,

until it walks past you posthaste.

Never glancing over its shoulder

to bid you adieu.

If you rebel against it and reject its existence —

fold your arms and plant your feet —

it moves the earth beneath you,

deftly carrying you far away,

leaving no breadcrumbs through the forest.

Beware the witch.

If you try to understand it —

play by the rules and predict the next move —

It rises to the challenge,

leaving clues to peak your interest.

“Aha! I’ve found you!” you’ll proclaim,

surging ‘round the corner

only to find the gentle breeze of it’s departure and a note:

“Your mother has passed.”

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