I can’t make a beautiful thing out of my sadness,
or I won’t. There is no metaphor for it. I can tell you
I’ve lost hours to crying, traded hunger
for satisfaction. That this also feels like betrayal.
That grief has taken so much from me and still
I feel guilty, like this way of suffering
is less than. But less than what, exactly?
Maybe if it were nameable it couldn’t eat me.
Maybe the thing eating my insides
is what might swallow me on the outside.
Call it America, call it an officer of the law.
Call me when the nightmares subside or
when I can sleep through the night again.
I count the moments in weight like so:
sleeping feels like nothing, I wake in a new
darkness. When the sun’s light finds me there,
we are like unruly children, teething and disturbed.
The afternoon comes with hunger pains.
I forget how to feed myself and yet
still do enough to keep myself alive, keep
this suffering living. Between my crying
and poor eating comes the dry mouthed
feeling of dehydration. Yet another pain.
Have I mentioned the internet yet? No?
That’s another pain – ephemeral, ghostly,
like any quality haunting is. All of it is loss.
My condolences to the brothers and sisters
lost to the violences. My condolences
to those I thought were my friends
that I’ve lost to their complicit silence.
If empathy is a work of the imagination,
you’ve held from me your thoughts, which
I’ve had several. Have had to have plenty
over the years. Enough to drive someone mad,
knowing this has all been for you. Don’t ask what—
most things would apply. Life? Yes. Liberty?
Yes. The pursuit of happiness? Yes.


I WOULD WRITE BUT by Jordan Charlton




Photo used under CC.