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talking to the trees

Most experiences cannot be discussed. No one wants to hear the ugly truth, and chances are you will be attacked for sharing it. To be able to speak freely means that you need a willing listener, otherwise you are just talking to the trees. Time and again I have come to understand that there is no difference between New York and Moscow, no difference between East and West. They are just cults of personality, built on violence and money and moral quicksand.

The life of an expat evolves from those early, awkward victories to one of assimilation or in cases like mine - eventually understanding that you have no country you can (or want to) call home. I am left with just these four walls and my family. This apartment is the only place I actually belong. This is the only place I do not need to soft-pedal my thoughts, where I do not need to apologize for what I have unearthed. The river of betrayal runs deep whether I look outside, or across the ocean. Willful ignorance, willful indifference…

the broken egg

See a picture of a crying infant in rags, with tears on their tiny red face and try to feel nothing. Describe the weapons used, report what kind of gas it was breathing. Condemnations come quickly, without hesitation. Could this be a picture from a few years ago? There is no way of knowing. Could this child have died somewhere else? There is no answer to that question. There is just the news, and faith in a system. I find it maddening, to be caught questioning anything in such moments but the answers are not easy ones. We have all been fooled, over and again. I say none of this to suggest there was no attack. I say all of this because I do not trust much of anything these days. If there is a cracked egg in the box, it feels about he same as reading the news. Something is always broken, hidden, then found much later, far after the emotions have welled up, far after nights spent going to sleep imagining the horror, the sound of people dying, the smell of poison, the sense of things slipping  away into a black nothing. That dream is inescapable.

An explosion, another truck driving into crowds of people, another explosion, another city, another city, and one more city. Trains carrying bombs, men carrying bombs. The wheel turns and turns around the same center, the same unflinching eye. Maybe I am just wishing for once it is a lie, a careful fabrication. And then I understand that a lie like this is worse than the truth.

I know that E got a bad grade last week in math, and we are working to fix it. I know that the outdoor market has returned, and a lady there with missing teeth will bring some spinach for us next week. I know that the neighbors are still renovating, the buzz and rumble of drills does not cease. I know there are little green dots at the ends of branches and that the birds are flipping around a gray sky as they sing.


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