Empathy By Proxy – Ehlayna Napolitano [Poetry]

Empathy By Proxy

today a man spoke to me about souls

and told me I was bursting.

“oh thank you.” again. again. “thank you.”

the man is a pirate,

navigating imaginary waters and

plundering his own sense of self.


his recommended reading: past lives and

learning to control your sadness.

I wonder where he found these books,

who he took them from. he doesn’t know

I’m onto him, I think to myself.


he asks me how I write people


and I tell him it’s voyeuristic glances at intimate


and that’s true.


truth is contrite, two-sided.

he wants to pirate me too.


but what he teaches tastes like

salt. he thinks that there is salt in my hair, too,

but it’s just the soft waves he tastes.


By Ehlayna Napolitano

  • Ehlayna Napolitano is a writer and editor, based in Providence, Rhode Island. She currently freelances as a copy editor and reporter, and has published poetry in Moonchild Magazine, Occulum and The Long Island Literary Journal. She tweets @ehlaynanaps.

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