The Corrosion of Empathy

what do they feel like,
your thoughts, as they emerge,
still caterpillar curled, wrapped in the
slick uncertainty of after-birth,
morphing, mutating into inadequate sounds
in the void between us,
who knows what mask they fake
in the tight bondage of pleasantry,
who knows what sense they make
in the corrosion of empathy,

what does it feel like,
to live inside your skin, to know a heart
so well you stop hearing its beat,
i cannot feel the callouses of moods that
crease your forehead, or smell the light
that shifts the edges of your lips,
who knows the song in a brown moth’s eyes
but the harlot flame that seduces it,
who knows the frozen voice of death
but the waiting earth that inters it;

what would it feel like
if understanding was the sea,
under the surf of ephemera,
bound to the one eternal coast,
but what if the river yearns for sweetness
as the salt crusts over her moan,
who knows the ache of the sky each night
as she counts scars from aquila’s wings
who knows the tears of the ununderstood
as they unspell words each new thought brings,

what could it feel like
in the last flicker of a brown moth’s eye,
in the fleck of rust brushed from the wounded sky,
in the fleeting eternity between thought and word,
in the unbroken,
in the unspoken,
what could it feel like, just knowing.

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31 thoughts on “The Corrosion of Empathy

  1. (Pause to regulate heartbeat.) I have a friend who is a suffering empathic. We need a rewrite of the famous phrase “Happily corroded or Painfully alive.” Except, as you show it isn’t all pain, some of it is the wonder of entering Mystery. The path to peace is filled with profound curiosity and a wilingness to feel the entire spectrum–the more sedate and boring moments as well as the extremes. Oh! As always, I thank you for your wise soul and way with words. Your images leave me breathless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have that primal urge to know everything yet sometimes it would be best to live with unknowing. Man has developed because of his endless quest yet how we would like to stay in times we loved th best. (Oops! a rhyme slipped in there).

    Like

  3. Another powerful piece. I love the altered variations of the repeated line “What would it feel like”. Sadly, people are not asking themselves enough of those kind of questions, and that absence has brought to the place we have come to.

    Like

  4. All that unknowing, yet we keep reaching, most often unaware we are finite beings, so incapable of knowing it all. Found your words profound, you images fluid and clear. Especially liked the moth and the harlot flame. This is one hell of a piece of writing. I salute you,

    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

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