If you want to kiss me, please stand at the required distance. You can send signals through the air, so long as it involves a hand movement that has no sweat. Please make sure your saliva is contained, the way you would if you were about to pass wind – keep it to yourself, don’t spread it anywhere outside of you. Saliva smells too – I don’t want a whiff of it anywhere near me. I don’t want to know what you’ve had for breakfast. Please keep your saliva inside your mouth. And please don’t spit. Are you aware of what you do with plosives? I saw globules fly through the air fast last time we met and I had to duck for cover. Do you know you often stand too close? I never used to mind but now please stop touching me. Those little pats on my arm are unnecessary and potentially deadly. I can’t let you in without a mask so don’t bother showing up on my doorstep without one. If you stand at the required distance, I am happy to see you. We are close enough! There is no need for more. It is ridiculous to even mention kissing when kissing is out. Why even mention desire or love? We must put these aside for the greater good. I want to stay alive, don’t you? I know you do, so don’t kiss me, don’t even think about it. I have no need to hug you. I can live without kissing. If you want to kiss me, you’ll have to hold off until this whole thing is over. The problem is no one knows when. Who can tell when we’ll be kissing again. So for now, please stand at the required distance, and – I don’t know – wave your hand around.
Listen to Gayelene reading ‘Wave your hand’ (2:42):
Gayelene Carbis is an award-winning writer of poetry, prose and plays. Her first book of poetry, Anecdotal Evidence (Five Islands Press) was awarded Finalist – International Book Awards 2019. Gayelene has recently been a Finalist in the Bruce Dawe and Woorilla Poetry Prizes. She was awarded First Prize – My Brother Jack Poetry Award 2020.
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