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We are still alive

By Shannon Kenny

PROMPT — Despite ...

* Written as Shannon was waiting for her husband who was undergoing chemotherapy for an aggressive lymphoma.

In the waiting area of the public hospital where my husband is receiving treatment

I shut my eyes and listen

as the words of others —

English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Shona, Afrikaans, French, Sesotho —

first ricochet off walls and ceilings

then gather on the floor

like dust to rise and swirl about the room as

a whirlwind of consonants and vowels

syllables, sibilance

stretched and


are woven by accent, timbre, pitch, tone, rhythm

into worlds, meaning

curled, twisted

misheard, misinterpreted, modified

repeated, repurposed

punctuated by pause

and affect

our very core as they are molded

within a few short breaths,

to provide comfort

and the assurance

that we are still alive


Shannon Kenny is an actor and writer from Durban, on South Africa's sub-tropical east coast. She delights in the love and life of those she holds dear. Shannon is a prisoner of Hope — that the world is, through the long arc of history, becoming a more just, more equitable, kinder, and joyful place to live.


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