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              Pathogen Pause

As we attempt to glide past each other

in a supermarket meeting of the aisles,

we both pause to keep our distance,

a medically-designated six feet or more.

We dare not touch or breathe the same air.

I try to navigate to avoid anything close,

like a robot with vision sensors

seeing the people around me like objects,

pathogen-bearing, potentially lethal

carriers that must be avoided.


I used to gravitate to people, even willing

to hug, hold hands, or soften with a kiss,

but now I evade like the plague-ridden

malicious temptresses they are.

In the grocery store, we both hesitate,

our carts caught in the pathogen pause,

where any movement forward

can only be attempted if there’s a safe path.

We used to smile, but now we’re tense,

both trying to escape the creeping contagion.

Voice Recording

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