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Cloud Blankets

A notification on my phone

The light beeps into the air around my face

No sound

Just particles into the atmosphere

offering a scratch-off lottery ticket.

I think to myself, giddy, of new friends,

the coin releasing its metallic aura between eager and warm thumb and

forefinger. Shards of plastic or foil or whatever it is

sweeping into the air like dust.

But instead

It is instead a notification that encourages me to check in on old friends

to ask the internet what they’re up to

instead of asking them directly.

A pang of loss.

A twinge of what life could be.

A whisper of mortality for us all, I think dramatically,

imagining my hand, daintily draped across my forehead in a swoon

of sorts. A petticoat keeping my feet from piercing through the floor

and dragging me to hell.

But my blitheness is playing hide and seek with the weight

that we can’t be and do everything

and that some of us will be happier...?

As I type the phrase I’m not so sure I’m as hurt by the taunting of what no one can really have.

But I am not consoled.

I think of the times when I gave what felt

like so much

with very little to give.

It wasn’t that much really

but

it was all that I could manage.

Now I have more to give and I expect people to meet me where I’m at

I imagine myself halfway across a field yelling straight into the wind with pointed hope

that might just come back to me if I yell what is really in my soul

but I don’t know how to embed a compass into that sonic wave

Breathe ink onto the paper and watch its intentional lines unfurl with a clear message

Tie the paper note around a carrier pigeon's ankle like some wise enchantress

release it with controlled, unshaking arms and believe that it will come back to me

Wherever I am.

But it's never clear where that is.

Where I am, that is.

I’m suspended in a fog where I need things I do not know

and where sometimes even the act of knowing is beyond me.

Maybe it’s not a fog

Maybe it’s a relentless cumulonimbus blanket

Like I’m a plane slowly hovering and ever so slowly rising

How can I be going 714 miles per hour but be so slow,

frozen wisps hanging onto me like a pale and flavorless cotton candy vibrating with the sun.

Why can’t I get to the light beyond the cloud blanket

beyond my phone’s happiness virtue signaling

beyond, even, the light dancing on my partner’s blanketed form

shining with a subdued joy

velveteen and breezy

being somewhere

belonging to itself

I want to become that.


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CONTACT

Samantha Fried​

Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Barnum Hall

163 Packard Ave

Medford, MA 02155

samantha.fried@tufts.edu

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