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Wednesday, April 15, 2020


by Eryn Murphy
'The Invisible Wall' Canvas Art by Roswitha Schleicher Schwarz 

One day, this will all be over.
But the history books will not capture
the acute pain of wanting someone
just out of reach.

Immunocompromised, I cannot shop for myself.
The only time I leave my apartment
is to walk my dog.
It’s terrifying how quickly
this unfamiliarity became ordinary.

I am reminded of how much things have changed
every time a friend brings me groceries.
They stand over six feet away wearing a mask,
the groceries disinfected on the ground between us.

Sometimes I think it would be easier not to see them.
Their presence triggers a painful memory,
and the longer we talk the worse it feels.
It’s torture to have them this close.

As we stand with an invisible wall between us,
six feet might as well be six thousand feet.
They are close enough I can
see their smile lines and hear their laugh,
but I miss them more than I did before.

I long for their touch
and ache to be embraced.
I mourn all the hugs I took for granted
as they stand across from me,
just close enough for me to miss.

Eryn Murphy is a journalist and writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her healthcare pieces have been published in The Mighty and Girls With Guts. Eryn can be found on Twitter @smurph_95.