I am a murmur surrounded by space—
others always at a medicinal distance
(of six feet or more) prescribed for survival.
I am a vague shadow,
a bit of motion
in another’s peripheral vision.
Even as we become more
solitary, we congeal
homogenized into dots and lines
embedded in graphs and charts.
Each of us is a minute pin prick
on the map of a disease
without center or borders—
a disease that hoards us to death.
Our statistical affinities define us:
the well, the sick, the dead, distributed
across geographies of horror.
Is hope only another naive insult
to whatever in wounded nature
lives resentful and insatiable?
Or, amidst this brutish desolation,
will we learn one breath at a time?
John L. Gronbeck-Tedesco’s lives in the U. S. and is Professor Emeritus from the University of Kansas. His work has appeared in a variety of publications and venues, including The Connecticut River Review, Frontier Magazine, the Muddy River Review, Tuck Magazine, Scintilla, Better than Starbucks, MonologueBank, Angry Old Men Magazine, Madness Muse Magazine, Outsider Poetry, San Francesco, la rivista della basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi, The Kansas City Fringe Festival, Business Casual Productions (New York City), Karamu House (Cleveland, Ohio) and the Cleveland.