“Beating Through the Wall” – A poem by Sherry Ansloos

The following piece was written in response to the call for artistic submissions about the Hot Button Topics.

I thought we were together, but after some clumsy words about an assumed similarity,

I found that we were not as together as I had originally thought

I was “here” and you were “there”

I said “this”

Then you said “that”

Then I said “this” again but louder so you would listen

Then you said “that” even louder to me, as if it would somehow make me understand


Instead of agreement

I felt an invisible wall slam down between us

As though there were some cosmic line drawn in the shifting sand of relationship

that would stop us from ever being together again


On my side of the wall

I felt alone yelling my truth

Pounding my fists in futility

Feeling my cheeks flush hot with indignation

You not listening


You kicked hard on the other side

Defending your truth

Spitting words with an equal ferocity

Oblivious to my assertions


This fire of division burned for a while,

But like the promise of a calm after a storm

The fire and brimstone we threw at each other

Became flickering embers at our feet


I leaned against that wall in exhaustion

You did the same

Our backs to each other


I was still and so were you.

In the quiet we listened to the silence


Then suddenly

I felt a subtle tapping against the wall

My irritation bristled,

I thought you were at it again with your reasoning and contentions

Your pointing and kicking

So I climbed up that wall in anger to let you have it


Little did I know, you felt it too, that tapping on your back

Assuming it was me, you jumped to give me a piece of your mind

Up that wall you clamored ready to go at it again with renewed conviction


Our eyes met at the top of the wall.

I yelled for you to stop kicking

And you screamed at me to stop pounding


I said in confusion, but I didn’t pound

You said in bewilderment that, you didn’t kick

And there we were

Eye to eye

Chest to chest

Hanging on our sides of the wall


Out of breath from the exertion, we stared at each other

In that moment, I saw my friend

And you saw me too

I remembered the time we laughed so hard until we cried about some silly joke between us

You remembered the days when we were inseparable and we had each other’s back

Then once again, we both felt that rhythmic tapping

Steady and strong


Sometimes revelation comes in silence

Like a gift left at the door

It surprises and delights at the same time

And leaves you indebted by love


When we stopped the noise

We could feel each other’s heart

It was our hearts beating through the wall


Then a wave of remorse came over me

And regret overtook you

A swell of connection, in spite of our differences


And in this face to face

The dividing wall seemed to shift and disappear

There we stood

Connected by our humanity


I thought we were divided, but after some clumsy words about an assumed difference,

I found that we were not as divided as I had originally thought

I was “here” and you were “there”

But we were in it together

I said “this”

Then you said “that”

And we listened to each other with our hearts

Then I said, “I love you friend”

And you said, “I love you too”

Sherry Ansloos