Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Face Times

Everything is closed now.
We can’t touch each other.

Yesterday I saw my daughter’s face
in the rectangular room of my phone.
She told me how she spent
the morning at work making meals
for a woman and her daughter
who are living out of a car
in a local park.

I wanted to hug
everyone in the story.
My daughter, her boss,
the woman, her daughter,
whoever delivered the meals.

Everything is closed now.
We can’t touch each other.

This is as close as we can get.
You are reading  these words
made up of letters
I just typed, each letter
a pattern of pixels.

Everything is pixels now.
Keep your molecules to yourself.

A Brooklyn friend, using
Facebook Live, gives daily tours
of Greenwood Cemetery.
He showed us the statue of Minerva,
a Roman goddess with her upraised hand
forever waving at the Statue of Liberty
a few miles to the west.

What a strange friendship
between the goddess of wisdom
and the symbol of freedom,
they never really touch,
just wave politely,
with too much distance
between them
for any real conversation.

Everything is closed now.
But waving is acceptable.

I’ll bet both of them
are hungry, poor, and tired
of the living talking of freedom
on one side of the river
and all the dead
on the other, so silent.

Didn’t Achilles’ mother
dip him in the river Styx
while holding him by the ankle
and so his heel became
his most assailable place?

We try so hard to protect.
Everything is closed.

Oh, we are all so vulnerable,
and we don’t like to be reminded.

I owe a huge debt in this world,
and this is some of what I have now
to pay anything back before I go:
these words
in this space
between us.
Take them
as you would
my hand.

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