/ Katie Clemmer (Writer), Kevin Phan (Illustrator)

Poetry1 min reading time

A close-up digital illustration of an eye. A bright reflection shines on the lens and upper lid.

There’s a belief in the air, held within
the subtle inhales of the nameless that
state suffering, the world to Atlas,
the brand on skin, is unequivocally
labeled:OURS to carry,
Nothing to kiss away our shit, no band-aids,
rotten in their packaging, no stickiness
to patch wounds or cover things
the face,the lips,
This lesson of necessary cognizance overempathy—
I must understand You, I must be You,
For Me to protect
You as You are

In any way,
Your body must be a shadow to mine,
refracting images upon my eyes
of the depravity and horrors of life
I will neverunderstand,
because Your suffering, the act of suffering,
does not give You a free pass
for sympathy or a shred ofhumanity
as humans are not humans if they do
NotKnow You Personally.