Have a Great Day

I don’t know

what’s more impossible:

Noticing the jelly-cream

drip of young jealousy

as it tries to look stronger

and feel less like a disease-filled

impostor each time it debases another,

or recognizing my own empathy

for the unforgivable,

each time it appears to me

to be genuinely sorry,

but still trapped

under the foam of a scream

that never got heard

like mine wasn’t.

Today, someone

introduced themselves to me

by shaking my hand

and telling me they had STD’s.

And when I told them

that people don’t do that

to one another,

they said I can’t help it,

I’m mean, and that’s that.

I wish I could say

that was unreal to me,

but I’ve experienced

and reimagined

so many moments of mindless

unkindness like this one in my life

it’s now impossible not to see

a long pour of them as

as something earnest

and congenial,

like reading a newspaper

in a local café,

finishing up a cappuccino

like this one,

then telling the barista

thanks so much for everything,

and have a great day.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.