I asked her how she was

and she wasn’t quick to respond.

she waited longer than one normally does

and I realized she was deciding if she was going to

start in the middle

or just tell me everything was fine.

“I feel death around us,” she said.

I wasn’t sure what to say, or what my silence might mean to her

but I couldn’t bring myself to respond

so I didn’t.

I just stood there

and took her in, and looked at her, focused at what she had just said

and then we had the conversation,

but neither one of us spoke,

but we understood each other,

and I embraced her with my thoughts of comfort.

then, her daughter needed help,

and I let her go,

reeling in my thoughts back inside my head

and in what may have been an hour or just a second all I could say was


and as she and her daughter began to engage each other,

I looked down at the sidewalk,

and just began to walk….