Littered across the void are laments for dead pets

and a reddit thread unravels

in photo after photo after photo

of a ‘gone-too-soon’, a ‘my girl’, and an unnamed foster kitten

And while one user is ‘subconsciously looking for my dead cat’

someone else wonders, ‘am I being too sensitive?’

another is matter-of-fact, ‘this is my first death, I’m 17.’

but all this grief doesn’t just congeal on reddit and Twitter

it appears IRL in sudden tears, on sunny afternoons

or as guttural wails in office toilets, muffled by well-timed flushing.

And these online elegies and offline breakdowns

only make sense when ‘u/hufflepuff1267’

asks the obvious,

“you get five days off, hot food from neighbours

and condolence texts when humans die

but Sundari has passed away

and I just have to cope?”

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Every now and then, there is a considerate pause

where someone lets you to finish your meandering sentence,

or a scooterist in Goa stops

so a python can cross the road

and a four-year-old is allowed to discuss

all the contents of her pockets

(feather, bug, pebble, coin, tooth, fluff, chalk…)

and a stammer is seen through to its end

so a final word may be found

and someone’s passionate cooking

isn’t dismissed in token compliments

but eaten in an appreciative silence

and three people stay back to watch

the end credits of a movie

and you patiently listen to a story you’ve heard again

and again and again

and you walk at the same pace

as someone old and slow,

just to hear them talk.

sometimes I think these considerate pauses

carry all the world’s encouragement

in their small, quiet minutes.

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