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I’m writing to tell you
loneliness is real

it’s not some abstract concept
you write about
and use metaphors of rain
or shadow or pieces of you
that used to be there,
not some scent of lead in the air
or poltergeist of memory
you can somehow keep at bay
with happy music,
not some lump in the throat
you push down in front of guests
when they ask you
how you like your new home
that you worse than deny,
that you never bring up,
out of guilt
from all the happiness that you own

it is real
and hard
you can close your fingers around it
and feel how cold it is
like ice stabbing your spine
sharp like needles
and big
bigger than you, sometimes
you can wake up next to it
you can drown in it
it can occupy your house
until there’s no room for anything else

lonely is not the opposite of happy
you can have happy stitched onto your clothes
and painted on the walls
and still sit with lonely
articulate and palpable lonely

I wanted to tell you it’s more than words
more like being punched in the gut
by a wide open stretch of foreign sky
that is empty save for a million things
that existed in another reality
one that doesn’t include you
and you run and you run
not because the tears would overtake you
but because it’s wide and high and deep
and incomprehensible
you can’t make conversation
out of its broken parts

I wanted to tell you change will take you down
and some parts will be lonely
doesn’t matter if the other parts are happy
and I traveled so far
just to be able to say firsthand
there is loneliness in this part of the world
more real than the faces I no longer see
more real than the language
I only speak to myself in order to hear.

“Lovers” by photographer Peter From


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