I was diagnosed with the invisible
Multiple Sclerosis, MS, 10 years ago.
It strikes sufferers differently
although sharing the common bond–
demyelination of the nervous system.

Those closest to me often forget
that although I do my darndest
to fight like a Navy Seal in a covert
operation through the oxymoronic
dichotomy of numbness and pain,
cognitive disruption and difficulties,
unrelenting gravitational pull of fatigue,
and lingering issues of past relapses,

give me a break.
I still have MS.

My lack of visible symptoms
and my little complaining does
give others who are dissimilar
permission to negate
understanding and compassion toward me.
I matter.

Lack of empathy hurts.

This is the closest thing I can imagine
to what it’s like
to be black–

the antithetical seen

who suffer differently than whites

although sharing the common bond–
humanity, for crying out loud,
created in God’s own image.

Black lives matter.

May we all remember
to listen without assumption,
to empathize without hesitation,
to feel someone else’s hurt,

to see,
really see,

the erring juxtaposition of
privilege on one side,
pain on the other,

to realize we are on an island