State of Emergency
By Alison Terjek
We felt human until yesterday, now
we are heads floating above carts,
handles —vectors for disease.
When we move and the wheels turn
against the bleached linoleum,
we’re surprised. We’d forgotten
our feet —forgotten legs — forgotten
we were anything but potential
infections. Each siren may sentence
someone to solitude. Will there be
enough bread, toilet paper, or empathy
to stop the panic we’re hoarding
in the pause between canned soup
and news feeds? When strangers reach
above our heads for grape jelly —why
do we duck as if we’ve skirted our corpse?
Hugs, handshakes and despair are all
invitations to the ER. Is hope a pebble
trapped in my toe box? Can I find it
by wiggling my feet? I run barefoot
through my daydreams sometimes.