Our glances touch
through sheets of plexiglass.
in checkout lines.
Our arms fake-hug friends
by large empty gestures.
We laugh at our frustrations
from where we stand on taped lines
at prescribed intervals.

Not the Black Death, Spanish Flu,
but the death of our proximity,
the easy jostle that links our banter,
even the subway jam that holds us up
when we’re half asleep.

The comfort of the cluster
that promises protection,
the ancient instinct of the nest
that we must abandon.
A subtle suffering unlike the acute
ache for food and drink,
but hunger none the less.