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Patrick Rylands

Letter of Commiseration

“I’m writing to say.”
“I decided to write.”

I found beginning the difficult thing. (Remember not to commentate.)
How do I say I cried when I heard the news? That my body heaved with crashing sobs?
Some things words cannot contain. The need I felt to tell you that I hurt too. And instead
I work a polished screed of clichés and craft.
You will scan my words, wondering why I wrote at all. Why break my silence to say so little?

I picture myself stood apart from the mourners, wanting to be a witness to grief.
But I walk alone in Marble Hill Park and the flowers are funereal.

“Best wishes.”
“In my thoughts and prayers.”
“Condolences” (I ask you)
And the time it took to produce two sides of spidery writing.
I almost did not send it. I hoped the thought would count. Count for once.
It ought to have been an elegy, a song of praise.
But it was only an advertisement for my emotions.

[...] Read more

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