By Karpagam “Jeeks” Rajagopal
In these upside-down times,
the human touch, that
most ignored, essential sense
showing concern, and caring,
impossible to misinterpret -
because you can hide your eyes
behind opaque shades,
fake a smile,
have a blocked nose, or be upwind
but you can’t touch gently or kindly
if you don’t feel it in you,
because fingers don’t lie -
has become the thing you yearn for.
A hug to say hello or goodbye,
a gentle touch to show understanding,
acceptance, sympathy or presence,
a celebratory high-five, a kiss on the cheek,
a reassuring pat on the shoulder,
wiping away another’s tears -
Human spontaneity gives way
To second thoughts and permission now.
People hesitate and back away
from the sin that is proximity.
A mask is suddenly political,
and courtesy, civility, and caring
are perceived as oppression,
and a violation of civil liberties.
I look up at the heavens
to help me understand
but Nature is mystified by
our disregard, pettiness, and greed.
The tree canopy is riven
into verdant islands separated
by the blue ribbon river of sky.
Yes, the world has been upended.
[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]