condolences from afar

What is it like to receive commiserations 
from cell phones? Do you watch the three 
dots prancing on your inbox as if they were 
tears for you to catch? What is it like 

 

 

to gaze at a body in their coffin through blurred
screens? I’d pause the video as if they were 
emergency exits -- a way to halt grief. 

 

 

And what do they hear when you say your 
distorted condolences from poor cellular 
connections? Do you press replay again 
and again until words are enough to wrap its 
arms around you?

 

 

I watched our tito’s funeral through 
my screen, with a hundred people passing 
by through pressing links and leaving 
assurances in real-time. There were more 
visitors than the usual number. 

 

 

A friend called me as she wailed for her father 
in the hospital, and I couldn’t do anything but 
to hold my phone tighter as if she could 
sense the warmth of my palms. 

 

 

Wakes have been wired into the four corners
of your screen. Every day I see people 
reciting their prayers as they typed devotions 
into a live-streamed service. Comfort has been 
transmitted through the tips of our fingers, into 
flooded inboxes, and washed into comment 
sections -- a tide of sympathies.
 


I’m sending you my embrace –
Through the codes of the internet 
and the fragments of my language. 

 


Hold and cast it in your arms
until we meet again.