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There are worse ways to waste time than watching videos of baby hippos cavorting like fey gray beach balls in huge water-filled tanks. Thanks to improvements in underwater photography we can see the hippo clearly above and below the waterline. We see through rain even though the brain knows each drop distorts the light, piecing the image together into something we recognize. The pain of others works this way too. Their fever, fear or grief, we cannot feel it but we can’t help but see it. In that sense their pain is here with us, within us.
Copyright 2020 Leslie McGrath. An earlier version of this poem was published in Peacock Journal and republished in Feminists.