Closer and Closer

By Ann Lipsitt

We are getting closer and closer
to being
closer and closer.

I look forward
to a time
when there is
space between us.

A time when whispering
in someone’s ear
poses no fear.

A time when
‘getting together’
being together.

I look forward.

To times when sharing
food and drink,
is done at arm’s length,
in the same room
where knees can bump
under the table
and touching an arm
causes no jump,
no alarm.

To a time when
I can see
all the expressions
on other’s faces.

To a time when looking
at someone else’s eye wrinkles
is done
just out of curiosity
not to
determine if they are smiling.

I look forward.

To spontaneity.

To a time when I can pop
into a friend’s car and
go for a ride
with no thoughts
of caution.

A ride.
A walk.
A talk.
A trip.
A restaurant.

A maskless visit with my folks.

A handshake.
A hug and a kiss.
An in-person class.
Sitting close to a friend.

I look forward.

To a time when
I don’t step into the road
to distance myself from
another walker
or need to thank them
for doing the same.

To a time when I don’t
change my direction
when someone I know,
who isn’t as careful
as me
at keeping their
dares to approach.

I look forward.

To saying, “YES,”
when I’m asked,,
“Can we hug?”
I hate

I look forward.

To a time when
I don’t look down
on the floor,
in a store,
for a green arrow,
directing me
as to
which way to go.

To a time when
I can stop
being irritated
with others for
not following
the rules.

I look forward.

To a time when
hugging and kissing
and being near others

We are getting closer and closer
to being
closer and closer.

I am a retired, middle school literacy specialist and special education teacher who spent years watching students develop their skills and talents in the areas of reading and writing. 

I was inspired to write a poem for a group of friends who were gathering together in February 2021, on Zoom, instead of in person, for an annual root vegetable inspired potluck dinner.  We have been getting together for over 10 years and last year’s gathering was one of the last social events I attended in another person’s home before pandemic restrictions began.  While chatting with one of the members of this group prior to our Zoom meeting, I used the words I chose for the title and thought, these would be a good starting place for my writing.  The piece flowed out of me, as if it had been waiting to be released.  Since the first time I read Closer and Closer to this group of friends, I have shared it with a few others who have encouraged me to share it more widely as it appears to speak to the feelings and frustrations of this time period and to the hope of things to come.

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Irene Cunningham
9 months ago

Like this…very close and wishfully distant x

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