Talk to me about loneliness. Tell me what you know about this shy, common creature. She seems small, powerless; how is it that I am pinned to the earth by a single glance from those keen eyes? How does she steal my voice away with one brutal tilt of her head? I’ve seen the way you run your hand across her soft grey pelt, absent-mindedly, as rain comes down outside the walls of your house way out on the edge of the known world. I’ve heard you singing to her late at night, your family asleep in other rooms, their beloved bodies curled under quilts and cedar-scented dreams. You know more about her than you let on. I’ve seen that scar on the back of your neck where loneliness picked you up like a stray cub, shook you hard, knocked you back on your heels. Her teeth marked you, didn’t they? Loneliness got into your blood then. Now she walks around inside you. Teach me how to live with that second shadow; not the one you were born with, but the one that found you, later. How do you bear her clumsy weight? Do you know any secret ways to slip out from under her claws? Tell me what you know about loneliness; her weaknesses, her flaws. She stalks me all day long. Circles, closer and closer. Tell me what you know. Maybe then, I won’t feel so alone.
Deborah A. Miranda