Home / Issue 34 / State of Emergency

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.