March 12, 2020

Unread texts swiped across my screen.

I’d never call it personal—

I’ve left him on read for a week,

and I don’t reply to her as quickly as I used to.

I hear the ding,

I watch it flash,

and for a few fleeting moments,

I stare at black, bold text

with fading, flooding thoughts.



my fingertips were quick,

tapping out a conversation

and pouring my heart

to the heart on the other end.


my hands are so slow

you can feel them drag through time zones,

and they stiffen in the cold

with every ticking moment.


“I’m bad at texting,”

I could warn at every meeting,

and they might laugh

after they see how a 9:24 question

can be answered at 9:25.

I might laugh too,

because of the way my fingers dance

on the days my soul feels light.

But it grows tired sometimes, and little words like

“How are you?”

are a greater burden than I imagined.


I’ve learned to have patience

with everything from the pace of winter

to the one who is meant to have my heart,

and all the whispers in between.

But I never quite grasped

how to be patient with myself,

and “Seen nine days ago

feels like failure stamped across

dull scars of insecurity.

“I’m sorry. I was busy.”


The title of friend is a weighted one,

but I’ve taken the letters of privilege

and taught them to spell burden.

I’ve learned that patience

is harder to grasp than the wind,

and when I need space,

it is not heard as abandonment.

A patient heart for others

is a flower that can only grow fully

when I first learn to plant

patience for myself.


    • Tabitha


  1. Kristianne

    Beautifully written! And I can so relate

  2. Gloriana

    This spoke to me on a personal level 😭

  3. Emma

    This was just amazing…. I have tried before to put these thoughts into words, about the pain felt whenever someone asks, “How are you”- it’s never turned out this perfectly beautiful. Thank you so much for this, I needed someone to tell me I wasn’t alone on this <3

  4. Sarah

    “but I’ve taken the letters of privilege

    and taught them to spell burden.”

    Girl. Say it louder for the people in the back. What a beautiful way to capture something that so many people feel and validating emotions that will make so many people feel understood. Great job!

  5. Josiah DeGraaf

    Oh gosh, Cindy. I hadn’t read this poem of yours before, but man, did it speak to me!

  6. Sara Willoughby

    This. This is so beautiful and timely and hit me deep. Thanks for sharing!


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