Sometimes it seems easier to say what I mean
as if I don’t speak this language fluently.
To take out all the ‘ifs, ands, ors, and buts.’
To just say
and for it to be understood to cover all ground and possibilities because
everyone knows that I don’t speak English well enough to explain myself fully.
Instead of offering awkward condolences to just say
with surprise and sadness and an accent from another world,
and those grieving would know what I meant.
How is it that I can know only one language-
and not know it well enough to be able to say what I’m thinking?
explain the ache of my insides when I hear your bad news,
what happens to my heart when we speak,
how my life seems brighter when you are happy.
My own language
does not provide enough meaning for me to be accurate when communicating.
The word “empathy” does not begin to cover the mass of
discomfort and pain by association
that it is supposed to. And one would never comfort another by saying
“I am empathetic.”
So what use is it then? A meaningless word, used stupidly
in an attempt to describe something indescribable.
A placeholder for something much bigger.
A weak synonym for “soul.”