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.