Pandemic IV: Elegy for the High Five

Spring, 2020

That sudden in-air collision of palms
breaking the rule, Keep your hands to yourself
it felt Friday night, it felt Mardi Gras,
a home run bottom of ninth opening day.

Always brazen, sometimes a rebel
the way it laughed with its head thrown back,
a teenager with a mischievous smile.
It sometimes said damn in a good way.

The hand arched with attitude, head tilted
sideways to give it full thrust, the forward
arc of a Major League outfielder
following through on a clinch double play.

Pandemic. And it came down with a fever,
no longer giddy and drunk on itself,
the tendons and knuckles stiff and twitching.
Please don’t forsake me, we heard it say.

It was contagious so we were cautious
and careful to social distance ourselves.
We stopped reaching out to make contact.
Authorities warned us to keep away.

The high five retreated to the side,
its laughter dissolving in anxious sweat.
It was trashed with gloves at the field hospital
where we were collectively told not to stay.

The loss we feel is like phantom limb pain.





Leave a Reply