Missing You In The Middle Of All This

If I were to toilet paper your house now
during this current pandemic,
would the rolls of Charmin
strung through branches of trees in your front yard
be seen as an act of love
instead of hatred?
You always were
so full of shit, anyway.

I test my faith at the grocery store.
Take shallow breaths
between prayers.
Find myself counting floor tiles
to measure the distance
between myself
and the strangers
who are frantically loading their carts
for the end of the world.
I can’t help but think of you
and smile.

You always struggled
to give people personal space while talking to them.
More puppy than human,
it was just in your nature
to be so warm and inviting.
I hope you are finally figuring out
the concept
of personal distance.
I hope your giant heart
doesn’t make you a target
for someone else’s fear-clenched fist.

I used to text you
while browsing these same aisles
after late nights of working with you.
my lungs ache for oxygen
in the same way
that my phone craves your conversation.
This absence
is overwhelming.

Seeing all these people
desperately grasping
at an illusion of control
by wearing masks
and gloves,
I wonder if you are one of them.
I hope not.
It would be tragic
to deprive the world
of your smile,
hidden away under the false safety
of one of those blue masks
that now litter parking lots across America.

As I wash my hands
for the hundredth time today,
I think of all the unfulfilled pinky-promises
and high fives where I left you hanging
in the same way
that you have done to me now.

With everything going on in the world these days,
I should probably give up
on fanning the flame
that you carelessly started
with the match
you clumsily tossed my way.
You probably never meant for it to catch,
but now
my whole world feels like it’s on fire,
and you
just walked away.

I wish we could move past this.
I wish I wasn’t so easy
to leave behind.
You probably don’t miss me at all,
but you
have never left my mind.

The Doomsday Clock
is set at 10 seconds to midnight,
and all I can think about
is how I’m running out of time
to tell you all of the things
I never got to say.

Like I miss you,
and I love you,
and I’m so sorry I was afraid.
I’m sorry if I wasn’t honest
or vulnerable enough.
I didn’t mean
to push you away.
I pray for you
and your family all of the time.
I’m so sorry if I hurt you,
I just wish
that you had stayed.