Words

A small selection of writings by Geoffrey

Certain writings once found on this page have been moved.

[Optional] Comments & Informational Details provided for some Words may be found at the bottom of the page.

Flight Path

"Flight Path"

​​by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa

Original Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. ​


A grasshopper landed

At the edge of the open screen window,

And, in the near distance,

A plane engine whined and cried.


Yesterday was Friday.

In the shadow of a courtyard I held my phone,

Pointing the speaker toward the small gaps

In the screen window made by the filaments.

For you I played Supremes and Sam Cooke.

Four Tops and Three Dog Night.

Earth, Wind and Fire.

And the Brothers: Blues and Doobie--

while texting my own.


Overhead the Cessna soared.

It left from the private airport you used.

Sharing a flight path. Chasing freedom.

As you had to.


Some must fly solo.

Some equipment outfitted only for one.

I have always known.


I remember your leaving.


This morning I stood in the predawn.

Staring again into the sterile room.

Again through the meshed screen,

In COVID-protocol.

A fighter. A soldier.

A now quieted body.


They lifted you from bed to stretcher,

Like you had carried me outside,

When I was a boy,

To share with me the night sky

From the cement front porch still hugging

The warmth of the previous day's summer sun.


Were you able to turn your head,

To open your eyes,

Would you have seen me,

What with Mars,

The God of War

--the light chip--

Marching across the horizon,

My shoulder?


Behind me. Behind us.


(​RIP, Pop)

This is hunger. I am Hungary.

"This is hunger. I am Hungary."

a poem bearing witness

by Geoffrey Allison. Original copyright 2015.


Hadley said “there are so many sorts of hunger” almost a century ago and truth keeps these words afloat: their meaning bobs up and down right now on rafts in the Mediterranean and echoes throughout the Carpathian Basin.


There is hunger all around me…


To endure, placing one tired, or maimed, foot in front of the other, and continue forward — a massive exodus leaving sands wet with tears and blood — traveling toward safety and security for family, friends and neighbors. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To understand there is too much homelessness already and not want more in streets and doorways. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To suspect perceived differences and guard ourselves from these. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To anguish for too long under a pounding hammer and a slashing sickle — implements conceived in hope by one and poorly wielded by others — and forge a future from this suffering. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To protect fields and flocks from trespassers — uninvited strangers for whom we have not planted enough grain and raised enough livestock — and husband inventories for the safety and security of family, friends, and neighbors. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To plant soil, fertilized with the blood of brethren, and take pride in its harvest and share this fruit with the world. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To plan and construct based on rules set and communicated, only to have those rules suddenly change — shifting sands scattered across two continents by mortar fire, missiles and the application of foreign policies — and worry about the future. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To desire a better history be saved and remembered and a better future lived by our children — and their children’s children. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To dance in peace and joy and celebrate in public parks, holding one another, under free and open skies. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To dream worlds into existence: where the quest for freedom is no less important because of skin color or religion. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To be stolen from goulash, shackled at the gulag, only to return home again branded — herded under yoke into Diasporas of purchasing preferences toward foreign economic interests: restaurant chains, beverages, grocers and personal care product retailers — and watch a country’s surplus exit through porous borders so desperately now defended that forces the question: who then do we work for? This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To live in the present and fear perceived threats against it, and too easily forget times we struggled for independence and freedom. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To wish to integrate cultures without threat of subversion and create new societies, friends, and families. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To fight against the forces that might rewrite history, demanding not retribution but awareness and vigilance to prevent history from repeating. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To firmly stand on unpopular ground awaiting the mudslide of popular opinion. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To recognize similar circumstance: one of the homeless aiding the homeless. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To choose compassion — distributing food, clothes, and medicine and offering shelter — at train stations and roadside camps. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To smile in spite of adversity and temporarily convert a train station terrace into a concrete pitch and pass a football between fellow travelers and volunteers. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To succumb to frustration at obstacles hindering progress and throw stones and garbage, rush barricades, and cut fences in search of freedom. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To swallow hard and resist deadly force and match the thrown stones with sprays of water — not bullets. This is hunger. I am Hungary.


To clash. To hug. To cry. To smile. To bleed. To heal. To share. To take. To seek. To deny. To love. To hate. To stand firm. To move forward.

“There are so many sorts of hunger.”

Particles on a Piano

"Particles on a Piano"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2017.

​For my wife, this and all things.

Inspiration: "Together We Will Live Forever" by Clint Mansell


dearest love,

i never mind that we are so small.


do i ever tell you?


of my wish for nothing, nothing but to do it all over again — to share it all over again — with you.

two motes, each applauding the other's performance atop that black-lacquered stage.


do i ever tell you?


in that polished surface, how i search the reflection. and you are always there.

our instrument grander still. you are never not beautiful.


do i ever tell you?


of my admiration, how your spirit resonates when hammers strike thunderous chords composed by unseen hands and melodic keys twist and turn.

life unlocks surprises. and you are never not kind — never not brave.


do i ever tell you?


about the pulsing, the vibrations drawing us closer. how we resonate. remain bonded.

move through crest and trough. until quiet returns.


do i ever tell you?


about my ancient memory, what i have always known:

together we will live forever.

​and we have.

maybe

“maybe”

by Geoffrey Allison — October 2022


maybe my I

has become desensitized to

simulated light: I never find passion

inside LEDs, nor discover secreted hurts by

pointing only a flashlight beam

when gloom gathers and shadows loom

that which is artificial fails

invest faith in stars: sunlight

softening Cinque Terre’s hard traces,

warming stony faces with lips in the narrows

silently curling, ready to taste desire’s reward, the

roaring sprays of Ligurian seafoam misting skin and

tongue in salted cotton candy

accept unexpected wisdoms,

navigate a New Moon’s indigo: even in dark,

unrestrained hands adventure hope & wound,

curve & edge, fingers running routeways

through watery mangrove and soul—

there, near the rounded belly of the world,

flesh touches wet, conjuring radiances of

bioluminescence—a beacon of symbiosis

guiding heaven inward

The Weight of Thought

"The Weight of Thought"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


this is time alone

in an open-air bar

a chance encounter

a shared drink

this is leaving together

under the eye of the bartender

that shared walk on the beach

finding in the passing sands

seashells and shared interests


this is the tide coming in

cold water touching ankles

this is the rising water

a warning


this is the smile

in the coffee shop off Ku'Damm

the awkward introduction

composed of two languages

the walk under steel skies

the agreement to meet again


this is the question asked

on the razor's edge

along the narrows at the

strait of Öresund

this is fifteen minutes witnessing mannerisms

and remembering every detail now five years on


this is the shared cab with coworkers

the agreement of who's to sit on whose lap

this is your joint decision, quickly made

the electricity coursing through the cabin --

yet shocking nobody


this is the map you keep folded

all the locations camouflaged

restrained in silence


this is the "No's" to the knowing

of two random persons intersecting

this is the constant reaffirmation

of commitment,

this is guilt like ghosts haunting

not in the sex never sought

but memory whispering all the romantic

love ley-line crossings left untraced


​​​this is the weight of thought

flint

"flint"

by Geoffrey Allison, 2021


here,

with its sharp edges,

flint reveals what lies

beneath verdant

hills


wildflowers

invite me to bend

into hidden prickly pear

cacti


and the Bluestem leans

easily into its nature,

like a lover telling truth

slant


there,

I learned how to embrace

you, before I'd ever met

you

The Garden Gnome (excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from my short story "Garden Gnome" to be included, in its entirety, as a bonus story alongside the first twelve Rock-n-Roll Reads stories to be published in a collection in the autumn of 2020.


DEDICATION

For my wife, this and all things. For the people of Kansas, there's so much more coming.

And, of course, to the signatories of the Harper's Open Letter, for making it necessary.


GARDEN GNOME

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2020.


At precisely eight o’clock in the morning, Lacy Hensley pulled out of her garage. Two minutes later, she approached the guardhouse of Chicory Place, a suburban enclave containing one hundred patio-style homes located at the edge of the city limits of Whispering Woods, one of a dozen towns and villages comprising the larger metropolitan statistical area known—and collectively and colloquially referred to—as Grace City.

Lacy pressed down on the brake pedal of her customized Ford Ranger and waited for the inconspicuous RFID transmitter, pasted low near the dash on the inside of the windshield, to trigger the gate. She raised her hand clutching a microwaveable breakfast sandwich and half-heartedly waved to Mr. Rickles, a former elementary school principal, volunteering for the morning shift at the gatehouse.

Then she turned, stared straight ahead, bit down on the sandwich, and waited for the arm to rise and allow her to exit.

“Have fun today. Get some ideas. We’re counting on you,” Mr. Rickles said as she pulled away.

Lacy turned left at the entrance to her housing development and eased onto one of Whispering Woods’ countless neighborhood roads named after shrubs or trees. At the first traffic light, she turned left again. This time merging into the morning drive-time traffic clogging the numbered streets. These ran in an east-west direction. Built to gather all the drivers the suburban town unleashed: the fearful and angry, the daydreaming: distracted and disengaged, and the worried and stressed-out-from-parenting-kids-shouting-in-the-backseat.

A crumb trail of asphalt pebbles—rolled smooth and flat—carried Lacy and the others toward the expressways.

Lacy guided her truck down an on-ramp and took advantage of the relative safety of having no cars to either side of her. Buffered by emptiness, she pressed the media button on the touchscreen of the aftermarket media system she’d installed in her ‘83 Ford Ranger.

The pickup was one of the first to roll off the Louisville assembly line and Lacy actually bought it in Kentucky, albeit decades later. She’d driven down to buy it off an automotive plant retiree. The truck’s original owner, who lived in Maysville—where Rosemary Clooney had been born.

The journey to buy the Ranger was a memory now. The final road trip with her father. Bittersweet, yet no less precious. Lacy kept it alive. Sometimes she found herself mouthing the imagery when she recalled the experience. She’d speak bits and pieces of the scenes out loud, giving a life to them as she did.

They were heading out of town, on their way back to Kansas. Her father was following her in his car. He honked as they approached a metal building with a sign that said it sold groceries. She slowed, pulled to the shoulder and her father pulled alongside her. He shouted through the window, suggesting they have a picnic before leaving town. They turned into the micro-store and bought bread and meat. And off-brand potato chips that tasted like chemicals. They had lunch in a sprinkling rain—along the banks of the Ohio River. Her father had tortured her. He kept pretending to wipe food from her face, as though she was still a little girl. Worse, he sang—and did so poorly, intentionally offkey—as he performed the artificial ablutions. He wiped away non-existent crumbs from the corners of Lacy’s mouth and belted out the lyrics to an old Coronet tv commercial Clooney had jingled.

And then… it happened.

Lacy closed her inner eye, blinding herself to the memory, and focused on the time displayed on the audio system.

Thirty or so minutes to get there.

She hoped it would be enough time to listen to at least two episodes of her favorite podcast. If she could tick off two episodes from her list it would make her feel productive, had accomplished something—anything, had earned a return on the time she was investing in the drive to Pandora.

She scanned the overhead road sign and flipped the turn signal before merging into the far-right lane of the interstate.

That’s not the word father would have used.

Freeway. That’s the word he used. Right up until his death. He had brought the word with him. Had packed it up like he had his clothes and dishes and brought it with him when he relocated to the Midwest. That was the term he had grown up with. The one he’d appreciated. The word fit his personality. It shaped it too.

Lacy considered the interplay. Her father had been a container of words. A utilitarian container, to be certain. Not ornate or fancy. A footlocker. A bunk trunk. But he had been carved and chiseled from words, too. Good and bad.

Lacy continued driving and thinking.

Heartland natives most often used the word highway. That was the word her friends and their parents used when referring to the monstrous cement tentacles.

Lacy used neither word. For all the bronc she’d been born with—and still displayed naturally, effortlessly—she had discovered ironies. As she matured, bits and pieces of her own personality revealed themselves. For all her untamedness certain specificities comforted her.

The word interstate felt accurate to Lacy. Suggesting a conjunction, or a series of conjunctions. If not downright inclusivity, then at least hints of connectivity, of fluidity. Interstate meant a road a person might take to get from here to there—even when here and there were separated by great distances and perhaps by culture and custom. Or states of being and feeling, too.

She listened to her own thoughts, as her podcast played in the background.

A thought crept into her mind. She cringed. She turned up the volume and tried to push down the unexpected blip floating to the surface of her consciousness. Wanting to drown it. The thought of the route she hadn’t taken. The riverside roadway set snug against the hills hugging the Sunflower River. The other route, twisting and winding, that also connected Grace City to Pandora. Filled with lost backwoods roads. Forgotten exits. And enticing entrances, too. Like the old wagoner’s trail that eventually became a tractor road and that now was the entrance to the infamous roadhouse: Justus Meats, Home of the Snyder Cut.

Her body shuttered as if it could shake loose the goosepimples blanketing her flesh.

Thirty minutes to Pandora.

Lacy continued her private calculations.

Another ten minutes to get across town and arrive at the gardens, assuming I can cut through the Ad Astra College campus without getting stuck by all the peds.

Lacy calculated twice more before settling on an estimate that felt solid and comfortable.

I’ll arrive a few minutes before the arboretum and gardens open.

“Unless, of course,” she said out loud to herself as she touched her belly. “I need to make a pit stop.”

​ Lacy felt motion. A lump of the microwaveable breakfast sandwich somersaulted in the confines of her stomach, where a pre-existing chaos—the reason for today’s road trip—already resided.

​. . .

© 2020. All Rights Reserved.


Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too.

Militant P.I.G.

Lyrics to "Militant P.I.G." by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2016.


I am just the mirror

Not the scars under the face

That sinister secret evil

Always lurking in that place

In the marching protest

Are boots too quick to throat

Overstepping their intentions

Allowing madness to control

Fire! Aim. Then you make ready?

Are you ready for the truth?

It’s no great public service

with the cops so quick to shoot

I am the reflection

The sudden interjection

From deep inside the heart

I am the reflection

Halting the progression

And tearing us apart


​I am just the mirror

I can’t see inside your head

All the thoughts you’ve kept hidden

All that angst and fear and dread

All that mixed emotion

Gets stirred up in the mind

An unhinged mental trigger

Pulled from behind a hidden blind

The tools don’t do the killing

It is an inconvenient truth

To recognize those demons

And admit they are the proof

I am the reflection

The sudden interjection

From deep inside the soul

I am the reflection

Halting the progression

That makes the world so cold


I am just the mirror

I can’t penetrate your heart

Can’t dress up all that mistrust

Or tell you where to start

All those unsaid secrets

That manifest themselves into hate

Scripts with too many actors

Everyone participates

A devil waits in shadows

And always in the dark

Seems imprisoned here forever

Chained to all our hearts

The sudden interjection

Psychological projection

Our inner fiction found

Halting the progression

The means of our regression

Forever are we bound?

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror << I am the reflection >>

I am just the mirror. Where is the reflection?

My Church

"My Church"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021


You shout 'Sacrilege!'

As I tap on empty

Eucharistic plates using

Bones of paschal lambs

A rhythm, my

Signature, both

Confession AND

Commitment, a

Covenant, new and old,

Under the tabernacle

Neon sign: Open 24hrs.

Biscuits n' Gravy (or Early Morning Poet)

"Biscuits n' Gravy"

by Geoffrey Allison. Copyright 2021.


Here's to you, the Bubbas,

Bowl of biscuits n'

Gravy in your lap,

Squinting cowboys

Fighting light fired from

Poetry Foundation's website,

That favored pistol,

Asleep on the arm

Of a mid-century modern

Knock-off design, in case

You sight that troublesome

​Backyard squirrel

side Affects

​"side AFFECTS"

a burped lark on writing

by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa

Original Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.


On the best days, I wander through a tangled wood of words and become lost in the scribbling. Eventually I find my way out, return to the real world. Occasionally the dreamscape persists.

The heavy curtains still suffocate the light and encourage me to journey deeper into a dark inner-space. I'd closed the drapes last night, drew them tight. If I hadn’t, the first light of day would have flooded into the eighth-floor studio apartment at ten minutes past four o’clock in the morning. It is two days until the summer solstice and I’ve been in Prague since the beginning of June.

A Czech friend, also a writer, landed a plum assignment. I received her call in mid-May: “Listen, I’ve got a gig. It’s a good project. I’m heading to China at the start of June, I’ll be gone all month. Come to Prague—I know how much you love it here. You’re not well… and... you can use a change of scene. Use my place while I’m gone. You’ll have it all to yourself. Get work done.”

She’s right. I love Prague, whose beauty is peculiar. The city is a year-round flower but its blossoms peak during the summer months, when the inhabitants soak up the sun as they work and play outdoors. Pale skin blushes to rosy pinks and reds, olive skin hardens to bronze, and mocha flesh melts and sweetens into luscious chocolates.

My skin is pale—an Elmer’s Glue white—and I’m stuck to this frail wrapper. It is a condition, one of the many side effects plaguing me, one of countless self-cast curses. And those are the most dangerous.

I passed out last night and started writing as soon as I woke—whatever time that was—and I’ve been working ever since. Writing until I could work no more, until I reached a natural stopping point: the end of a chapter.

​Lunchtime has come and gone, passed me by hours ago. I only now realize this.

Confused, suffering from the by-products of my existence, I leave the apartment then enter the stairwell with metal runners rusted to a poisonous orange colour and anchored into concrete walls that are flaking and painted in graffiti I cannot read or comprehend. A dizzying aroma fills my nostrils and I rush for the exit door.

I need to cross the street if I am to make it to the mini-mart at the corner of Lucemberská and Radhošt’ská, where a lunch waits for me: a premade sandwich and a soda. It’s unsophisticated, not the best meal for someone in my condition. But my resources are limited—simple must do.

I step down from the curb and my foot makes contact. It’s unfamiliar pavement. I hear the noise of heavy traffic and the blaring horns of all those drivers trying to warn me. I am swallowed whole by the disorienting sound. As the automobiles pass, gusts of wind stir the grit that has been collecting in the gutters since the last down-pouring of teardrops. A tornado twists and spirals. An abrasive sandpaper cloud rises and scratches at my skin.

Something is off… doesn’t feel quite right. And I know it.

There is a fear that haunts every person I’ve ever known—no matter their economic position, or skin color, or spiritual belief system. It controls me now, grips me tight.

Am I naked? Exposed?

Confusion, or worry, or doubt: at times like this, what is the difference?

I look down and search for evidence, to confirm my instinct: No trousers.

What is this? How?

I touch my face and feel the tacky smudge of a lipstick smear. It runs in a diagonal direction from the corner of my mouth toward the anterior edge of my right ear. I look down and discover I’m standing street-side wearing a sleeveless sundress made from a bright white and pale blue checkerboard fabric. Such an ill-fitting costume, underpants missing, cock and balls exposed—at the mercy of the harshest elements.

​It is then I realize, my eyes finally adjusting to the revealing light, I am no longer even in Prague.

Stories of CRISS

Prologue from STORIES OF CRISS by Geoffrey Allison | SIXSTRINGcpa. Copyright. 2016. All Rights Reserved.


PROLOGUE


I am a robot. Well, I was. I died.

There is no reason for tears. No displays of concern or sorrow are necessary. My life was good. I enjoyed life’s great pleasure: I shared it, no matter how brief it may have been, with a handful of friends.

I had a name. My inner circle—trusted comrades and boisterous confidants—simply called me CRISS. But to others, my mechanical cousins and the harried adults who employed me and the rambunctious and inattentive boys and girls who climbed all over me and who often inadvertently hit my power supply shut-off switch, I was known as a Cultivar Robot: Irrigation System Servicer.

I see that you have kind eyes. And I think we could have been friends. So, you may call me CRISS, but only if you want to.

​ I will pause here for a moment, in case you are confused, your mind spinning with curiosity after stumbling over the peculiar facts now in front of you. The sudden obstacle in the shape of the obvious question: How does a machine made of metal and memory chips, of soldered circuitry and servos, come to life...and then die?

Would you believe me if I told you a magnificent cosmic wizard brought me to life? That she found me in the debris of a crashed intergalactic cruiser and then scrubbed my smoke-stained shell, made from advanced alien-alloys, after dipping me in a bath containing the same aqueous solution used in her alchemical experimentations?

Would you believe that the rings encircling heavenly bodies are more than particulates of cosmic ice and space dust? that within those ethereal discs microscopic beings of angelic origin live and that these beings have the capacity, if rarely the desire, to bestow life on anything passing through them? and that I was the recipient of such rare Divine Grace?

Either might make for an interesting origin story, wouldn’t they? I think so. But they aren’t mine.

My life consisted of ups and downs. There were moments of joy, blinding me with happiness. And passages of time that blanketed me in fear. My existence may not have been illustrious. It was important though. Not because of some grand singular event but from the accumulation of shared experiences. It was about people, coming and going. Together, we confronted whatever presented itself and crafted something meaningful, propelling ourselves onward with each decision we made.

They were everyday decisions, not unlike one you have in front of you now.

You do not have to learn about my life story. You can choose to close this book and go outside and step into the fresh air and inhale all the beauty nature offers, taking it in with all your senses. Or you could watch television, or play video games, or learn to play the Theremin, or practice preparing perfectly cooked rice. You could do any number of things, if you set your mind to it. I believe you could. What gets done is a choice, your choice. It always is. If you wish to continue now—and I certainly hope you do—all that needs doing is for you to choose to turn the page.

© 2016. All Rights Reserved.

___

Geoffrey writes about Whispering Woods, Grace City, Pandora, Ad Astra College, Justus Meats, and the twisting waterway known as the Sunflower River, as well as other fictional places, too.

Comments & Informational Details

** NOTE: If you're the type of reader (like I am) that doesn't care to learn what or how or why the writer was thinking when creating something, then you may not want to read on. **

Flight Path

I wrote the first and second (final) draft of this poem on 29-Aug-2020, the day of my father's death. Much of it trapped in my throat for much longer.

This is hunger. I am Hungary.

I had finished reading A MOVEABLE FEAST prior to heading to Hungary. We were in Budapest at the height of the refugee crisis. When we arrived, I located Keleti station on a map and began researching organizations who were involved in coordinating volunteer efforts and worked work to learn how and if I could volunteer while there. In the interim we — my wife and I — worked our various jobs during the day and then moved about the conjoined cities at night and on weekends. There was a uniquely singular phrase — almost identically expressed, word for word — uttered by the expats and tourists we met while there.

"Where is the UN?"

Brits were the most frequent nationality we encountered. But Americans uttered a near identical phrasing, too. As did other Europeans we met and who spoke English well enough for us to have some semblance of a discussion.

It was the repetitive nature of the phrasing that stuck with me. It cut a groove, not unlike wagon wheel ruts you might find out in the prairie. A line drawn. A scar. Evidence of people traveling. Migrating. And it was how the words were spoken, with notes reminiscent of religious disbelief, as though a deity had failed those speaking in dumbfounded tones. Querying, out loud, what it all meant. And, as importantly — with question marks just behind their irises — what the crisis portended about where we were headed.

The repetitional nature of the phrasing reminded me of The Beatitudes. Only I didn't want — or as is more likely the case, was not skilled enough — to develop a poetic conceit around "Where is the UN?" as a foundation for a prose poem. I recalled a quote Hadley had made in A MOVEABLE FEAST.

​Then I just started listening; listening and watching.

Originally, I set the poem against a backdrop of various people and places in Budapest I photographed in 2015.

The Weight of Thought

An impromptu poem created on 28-May-2021 and finalized on 31-May-2021. It revealed itself during a walk; I composed it in my head and typed it up immediately on my return. Inspired by the incomparable Buckethead. Specifically, his instrumental titled "How Much Does a Thought Weigh" [Bandcamp link, here] included in a random playlist I was listening to while walking.


flint

With respect, admiration and gratitude the short poem "flint" is dedicated to the stranger whose unseen presence felt familiar, who crept briefly through my private spaces and places. And then quickly departed. I am made more human — vulnerable, complete, and improved —hopefully— by such invasions.