Condolences

We wait outside.
In nuclear family clumps.
Masked. Gloved.
The door is closed.
Velvet roped.
A macabre club.
The porter emerges and waves us on.
We are ushered into the room.
Slowly. Two at a time.

The sign on the wall says:
NO TOUCHING. NO HUGGING.

I’m in a fever dream.
Fuzzy. Overheated.
The room is contaminated.
I don’t want to inhale.
The walls wobble
as I lower to my knees.
I hear someone, somewhere, saying,
I’m so sorry for your loss.

But those words are empty.
The words sound empty,
I whisper into my mask.
ALL words are empty, she says.
And I agree.
Slow motion nodding,
as the room spins around me.
Yes. All words ARE empty.

But I’m a writer.
So how can this be?

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