To Be

by Dale M. Tushman

Lonely is better than sad.
Sad weighs so much
it changes the contours of a
heart.  And it’s messy.
Very messy.  It oozes into spaces

you would least expect, like windows,
a bathroom mirror, the closet,
the coffee cup, so you cannot
always armor up and send it somewhere
you’re not going to be, like         happy.
(Or even mildly pleased.)

Lonely used to have options, 

which allowed one to feel close    enough
to mitigate the silence,
but now, behind our masks and/or
milling around/nearish the doordash person,
we have to take the time
to get distracted enough

to lose the scent of grief or despair. 

There’s always an app or two
or fifty
to produce lights/camera/action which short
circuit the nervousness that comes
with the “s” word.    Unless one is
an elder or technophobe and only has
a flip phone which has limited minutes and apps
and arthritic fingers cannot rescue an incoming call
or find the place where messages hide.
one can always curse at a missing person,
and the grey of sad can shift
into brown paneled walls of solitude,
like those in the library.

Dale M. Tushman‘s writing started with messages in bottles and notes to Santa. She moved up to ardent and (hopefully) articulate political protest letters (an on-going effort), short stories for university publications and eventually a life in New York publishing as a writer/editor and producer of multi-media education products. Her poetry has been well received in both print and on-line journals and now the smallish screen. She has been a psychotherapist for over twenty years. She is a transplanted New Englander now living in southeast Georgia, a place not terribly much touched by modern times, and one of the good things about this buckle-of-the-bible-belt is that it does love its crazy people: She is hardly noticed among the Bougainvilleas and Spanish moss. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

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