our personal pandemic

I hunger to commit the act of touch.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

we stopped shaking hands
we kept each other at arm’s length

we were so afraid of dying
we soon stopped living

we remembered each other’s finger tips
we dreamed about each other’s lips

no one was simply waving
everyone in fact was drowning

the shorelines left abandoned
beaches stretched like barren deserts

we stopped shaking hands
we kept each other at arm’s length

we were so afraid of dying
we soon stopped living

—P.L. Thomas