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I tried to sing to my loneliness
but the song and the void
only greeted each other
like long-lost friends
and the hollow echoes
started learning the lyrics
until they sounded like
a single voice.

I tried to grow things in my
loneliness like a garden,
some succulents and
a few portents of spring
but the butterflies all
ignored the invitation
and the life disappeared
after one birth cycle,
save for green stains
on my palms and knees.

I tried to dress
my loneliness up with stories,
the fabric of memory.

Tried to drive it away
with incense and meditation
as if it were a band
of trickster spirits.

Tried to outrun it.

Tried to give it the slip
and lose it in the madness
of this convoluted city
by going around in circles.

Tried to bury it, drown it
in play and laughter.
And food. And conversation.
And anything that causes
temporary intoxication.

Tried to belittle it, shame it,
intimidate it into retreating
with accusations of irrelevance
and questions about its worth.

Tried to divide it into parcels
and send it back to my motherland
one hard night at a time.

Then one day the loneliness
took my hand and said
it was alright to rest.
And we pulled storm clouds and
jazz festivals and unfinished pages
around us like a blanket
and slept in surrender,
side by side.
It was then that I realized
how beautiful it was.

It has my face.

And all the right reasons to stay
as long as it needs.
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