ISOLATION


Art by Michelle Dong

is the breathless cry of fear

in an empty room. it digs into the soles of my feet

like gravel, hard and sharp and out of place. i breathe

ragged and unsure. i clutch my phone like a lifeline, waiting for a notification,

watching the battery as it ticks down until with a splutter and a whine

it dies.


my charger lies abandoned beside me. i put my phone down. i

consign myself to this thick and unspeakable loneliness, consign myself to

reliving the same day over and over again. nothing ever happens anymore.


it is all predictable, the same numbers

and letters and words printed across the backs of my eyelids in neon colors,

the size of a headline, demanding attention that i no longer

know how to give. instead i commit myself to missing all the things

that i used to keep tucked neatly behind my teeth. unsaid


words are eroded into sand

in my mouth. by the time i think to splay my fingers in the shape of a star

against the window, perhaps they will have hardened

into pearls. i remember how to breathe


to live like life will end, with all the fanfare of a fabric mask,

the finality of a closed door.


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