Wallow

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My Friend, Covid-19

Reach out—flex.

Cringe back—gasp!

Brush up against—

Sorry! My mistake!

What the (bleep) are you doing?

Watch yourself! Be careful!

Did you wash your hands?

Every hour?

You don’t realize how much you touch.

Oh, but only if…

We could meet again,

Hang out. Have coffee together.

Can I read you a story?

No, you might cough on me!

Let’s start over.

We can’t.

What’s done is done.

Where is your mask?

You’ve got to…

Only, perhaps,

It is too late.

Perhaps.

The Essential

Waking from a dream,

I find, I am in a nightmare.

The status quo is social distancing,

I cannot shake your hand,

Much less,

Give you a hug.

The world has been

Turned upside down

By an odd appetite,

And now we all must curb

A variety of yearnings,

Like sitting down in a restaurant,

Going to the movie theater,

Visiting at a friend’s house,

Shopping at the mall.

What has become of the world?

It seems just yesterday,

That I could go anywhere,

At any time.

Now I must check myself,

And ask if it is essential.

What is essential,

After all?

The Usual

I’m sitting in a waiting room of an office building. I spend a good chunk of my life in waiting rooms, and in office buildings. So far, two people have asked if they could help me, and I’ve told them both that I have an appointment at 9:30. It’s 9:00 now. I hear men outside the door loading trucks. Not sure what they’re loading. There’s sounds of banging of metal. I hear a woman’s voice, and a man’s voice, inside the office. I hear men talking and laughing outside. I hear a television, perhaps an informational or instructional video.

There’s a sign on the front glass door, and another copy of the sign on the sign-in table, warning those with colds to stay away, so that staff are not exposed. The corona virus is in the news all the time, day and night with updates on new cases and quarantines. People are terrified of getting sick. I’m not sick, so I stay seated and wait for my appointment. I do use the hand sanitizer. You never know.

Days seem to fly by, but I agonize with moments where I have to wait—wait on doctors, wait on traffic lights, wait to pick up my wife from work, wait on dinner to cook, wait on bible study to start, wait on bedtime to give our pets their snacks. We have eight pets: a yellow lab, my wife’s guide dog; a brown chihuahua; a small, but chubby, orange cat; a fuzzy, but thin, orange cat; a black and white tuxedo cat; two grey cockatiels, and a green parakeet.

Our pets take up a lot of our time, attention, and energy. They keep us in a routine, and they keep us from moving around too much, as they like to lay in our laps. When one or both of our laps are occupied, we say, I need to do such and such, but so and so is in my lap. This excuse sometimes keeps us from getting up to get a snack, or it just might keep us from doing a chore, or doing a favor. The pets are the owners, we’re just staff, as they say.

Getting Older

Growing up is a fateful journey,

Full of both joy and despair,

With yearning for a sense of completeness

And sometimes a wish for escape.

I wish I could spend more time

With my family and friends, but

Somehow life seems to get in the way.

Everything from irritable bowels to

A toilet overflowing and flooding several rooms—

From a new job as an administrative assistant

To my wife taking classes at the local community college—

It’s always something.

But as time passes,

I will grab that opportunity to touch base,

Even if just with a note or a phone call.

As I get older, and especially,

As my nieces and nephews get older,

Time seems to fly by and becomes

Much more precious.

Decisions become a challenge, sometimes,

And dates and times seem to crowd in

From every angle.

Oh, if I could only go back!

What I would do differently.

Tea

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Ralph

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