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A TGB READER STORY: Topsy-Turvy

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,
mishear deliberately,
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.]

Comments

Kind and gentle words help and even the eyes can convey a smile behind the mask.

This was a perfect post for the time we are in, but also a reminder for all the time!

Thank you so much for this poem, which speaks so directly to my heart. Touch,
some crave and love it, some not. For those who do crave and love it as part of a relationship, value it as part of the expressive language, it "has become the thing
you yearn for." Lovely. True. Thank you.

Remarkable poem, the best I’ve seen to describe our troubled times and the pain of disconnection between ourselves and in our country.

Beautiful! Thank you! This speaks to both the limbo of the pandemic and the limbo of our political times...and it speaks to me!

How beautiful! How timely, and how true. Thank you so much. A perfect poem.

Indeed the world is upended!

Personally I'm living for the day I can again hug my son and grandkids. Freedom to hug!

Thank you, for so beautifully expressing what so many of us are feeling. I long for touch— a hug, a pat, a tap on my shoulder. I think we humans are hard -wired to need touch. The poem is layered and deep. I feel sure I will read it many times. Yes, indeed the world has been upended....... we are "out of touch" with each other. No doubt, though, you have touched us with your lovely expressive words.

That's exactly what we are nowadays.....out-of-touch,

Thanks for this timely reminder. I will give my husband a great big hug today and tell him I am thankful we still have each other. In quarantine here in a senior living facility.
Beautifully written. Thanks

This is absolutely beautiful!

Thank you for this poem. Really need it now.

Thank you to Ronni for posting this, and to all of you who had such kind things to say.

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