When you left last night, pieces of sorrow drifted in your wake like lazy snowflakes. Some the wind caught and blew away. Some stuck to my sleeve. They remind me that what I need to say to you I need to tell myself.

Whose voice is it inside you pretending to be your own and telling you that who you are and how you are and where you are and what you are doing right now is not good enough?

That voice needs to be still.

Listen to your own heart. Do you hear passion and compassion, sorrow and joy, generosity and need, vulnerability and strength? These make you human – complex, contradictory, beautiful.

Why are we told we should want more or should be more? What more can there be than sharing our humanity with others? That alone may be the affirmation of our worth.

Some will not understand. Some will not care. Some will resent and malign. Some will say you have erred. That is their impoverishment, not yours.

Still, it will hurt. That will pass if you let it…if you don’t have someone else’s voice inside you ripping off the scab.

As for those who claim they speak only truth, you can measure the value of their words by the love you hear in their voices or see in their eyes. If the love is not there, it’s just noise.

Stand in the river. Embrace the good. Let the rest flow by you.


by Phil Gallos

Phil Gallos has been a newspaper reporter and columnist, a researcher/writer in the historic preservation field, and has spent 28 years working in academic libraries (which is more interesting than it sounds). Most recently, his writing has been published in Thrice Fiction, Sky Island Journal, The MacGuffin, and Stonecrop Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming in The Wire’s Dream and Carbon Culture Review. He lives and writes in Saranac Lake, NY.

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