Condolences drown in brevity; / Empathy, a hastened veneer; / Understanding lost to formality
Egg shell coat: / Tread softly, / Quietly. / To not crack the illusion / Of knowledge, / Bold aspirations.
A flannel button-up and house shoes wear a man / Sitting to my left, with a right ear just trying to keep up appearances; / Just as deaf to the / echo of firework safety / Then, / As to my voice / Now.
The cramped section of nursing home floor space reserved for dining held thirteen weary souls, with seemingly no room to spare for conversation or levity. It wasn’t a tense atmosphere, but leaden, as if gravity had taken an interest in the nightly special. It was the kind of heavy silence that swallows the background noises of clattering cutlery, coughing and ringing telephones.