It happened on a Friday afternoon

I cannot cry.

Heroic anecdotes; farewell letters; “pathos-inducing imagery”

Every heartfelt broadcast, post, and article leaves me dry-eyed

wondering

how much plastic surgery has that newswoman had? or appreciating the use of tricolon

or flipping to the next page.

Does my apathy disgust you?

Ostracize me, shake your head, contaminate the air with your clouds of words behind my back

because

twenty-six

twenty-six

people are dead and

I

am so selfish, and hold tightly to the diamonds interred in my corneas,

even as the rest of the world mourns.

 

I wonder why my dams will not break.

What comes so easily to so many has always been

my cardinal sin:

There is no grosser weakness than rivulets of salty water streaming down a distorted, reddened face.

Yet can I not be weak for twenty-one children?

 

I am not a sadist.

please, believe me, I have a heart and a soul and I can smile and frown and feel;

I am not made of wood or stone or steel

But

 

I cannot pretend

to know the hearts of wounded families,

the pain of despondent friends,

the sorrow of an entire town brought to its knees.

Their tears carry every memory, dream, and longing; the past, present and future; and dare I

blaspheme their loss by allowing gravity to do the same work on my eyes?

 

they have felt in one day

incalculably more than others can in a lifetime;

have experienced anguish that cannot ever be understood by their fellow man;

have been confronted with the hardest questions of all, without even a semblance of an answer.

phantoms that will haunt their every step, while hundreds other go

unscathed.

 

I cannot pretend to know, and

therein is my reason to mourn:

For the perverse potency of pain;

for the mysterious menace of misery;

for the shapeless specter of sorrow.

 

for the unknown, which has become in a single day

all too well known.

 

 

 

Addendum: Written in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting

 

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