Like Pavlov’s dog, I respond to the ping,
Beware of underaged workers delivering alcohol.
The text tickles my curiosity, and I peer out the window.
Two 5th grade imps ring the doorbell and race away giggling,
leaving a bottle of pinot wrapped as carefully as a foundling baby.
God, I love my neighbors! And not just for their cavernous wine cellar.
Out come the wipes, and I sanitize the wine,
imagining smiling faces swapping quarantine stories
at our can’t-come-soon-enough happy hour in the cul de sac.
Bob and Chris will come dressed all fancy
with hair combed and clothes ironed,
while the rest of us opt for the sweatpants
we’ve lived in for the last two months. I’m inspired
to brush my teeth and put on a clean t-shirt,
the fog of loneliness lifting as I anticipate the evening.
Jeff, king of logistics, will make sure the lawn chairs are placed
at ten-foot intervals— we’ve learned to project like thespians.
The last homeschool bell has rung, so Cari and Jeremy will
toast each other and munch on BYO snacks,
as they watch the kids play in a bright new bouncy house—
thank you, Amazon! Maybe we’ll be joined by Mr. Tratchett,
the seldom-seen widower who lives next door.
Does he miss people, too?
I glance in the mirror, and consider the face.
I should smile more.
Soon our masks, both real and invisible,
will be abandoned, at least for a little while.
We’ll let our half-brown, half-gray hair down as we air-hug,
loneliness eased by a gathering of love.
Friends coming together, yet staying apart to keep each other safe.
I long for five o’clock and the chance to be fully human.
Ann Weil is a retired teacher and professor from Ann Arbor, Michigan. When not writing poetry, she can be found in the lotus position pretending to meditate. Her work can be read or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Quarterly, American Writer’s Review, The Voices Project, and many other publications. To learn more, visit www.annweilpoetry.com.
© 2020, Ann Weil