This Door That Separates Us

The other day I was speaking with an offender who has been in solitary isolation in one institution or another for more than three decades. I’ve known him for 11 years. Here is my poetic reflection on the essence of a big portion of our conversation.

“You relate differently,
Differently from others
I mean.”
He was being serious
After many years
Many years alone
In his cell for many years
I replied,
“I believe I spend
My belief is that I spend
Much time while we talk
On your side of this door
This door that separates us.”
(How can I explain
The door?
How the door is not as real
As one might expect
Somehow I place myself
Through the door
On the other side as we talk
Through the door
This door that separates us.)
“Empathy?” he asks.
More of a resonance
A willingness to enter
Your existence
Your existence is something
To feel
I am willing to consider and to feel
Your existence
Your side of the door.”
 © 2012 Thomas W. Cummins

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5 Responses to “This Door That Separates Us”

  1. Carol Mock Says:

    Deeply moving, Tom. Thanks for posting this reflection.

    • Tom Says:

      Through him I realize that being present is one thing, but over the years the manner of being present is reflected back as being appreciated. Much like your being present year after year through your visits and in your letters to S.

  2. Robyn Lee Says:

    It is a rare trait…a person willing to truly offer empathy the way you have here… very moving and a wonderful post Tom.

    • Tom Says:

      Thank you. For me it has been an incredible journey opening doors I wasn’t even aware were there. My belief is that we are here for each other … nothing more, nothing less. Those who are unseen, forgotten, despised, and on the fringe of society, occupy a special place in my soul.

  3. Robyn Lee Says:

    I can feel the sincerity in your words Tom… and truly am touched by your spirit. I know your instincts/belief is exactly perfect too. If only everyone did… Much Love ~RL

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