The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy

CW: pet death “So, are you going to get a new cat?” my coworker, Bridget, asked. Her eyebrows rounded and the gray streak in her hair glowed in the harsh fluorescent light. A mixture of impatience and grief constricted my throat. I had come so close to getting out the door. My computer was off, …

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Debts

She walked a straight line for the goateed police officer, away from the car and then back, as if she’d spent years in a high-wire act, but her eyes were as red as I’d ever seen them. That was Glenda, though: underneath the Lord & Taylor suit, she was all poppers, Percoset, and gambling debt. …

Three A.M. Cannot Find You

Your scream jolts me from bed. I crouch, ready to wrestle your terrors, but then the pall of absence returns. Only light dispels it. Luckily, my laptop is exactly one candle, and the green dot beside your name, syrupy relief.

Temporary (Permanent)

(photo credit to Robert Couse-Baker via flickr) I'd just been down the street helping Justin. He was (shirtless) that kid in the neighborhood who was nice to everyone, so I offered to help him fix his bike. He asked me to (stop staring at him) grab the little oil can from the garage. It was unusual to find …

Algebra

1. The tectonics shifted inside the cupboard next to my head. I don’t remember a click or a pop; I just knew that something in the air was different, like sadness entering a conversation through the threshhold of a word. Splinter. Freefall. 2. Broken. Pieces. Then glasses of all sizes flew around the room. No …

The Living-

there are black holes in the living- room, mostly beneath the furniture, but one is always underfoot the largest clings to the cotton knit blank- et though I’ve washed and shaken it out there are black holes in the living one naps beside the wandering night- stand sucking in the light that normally fills the …

In One Breath

A cop informed me that my son was both homosexual and dead. Shot at a bar he had apparently haunted. “Will you accept the body?” the cop asked. A thousand bats’ wings pulsed inside me before I said "No."