The man behind me in the checkout line
is maskless, angry, stands two feet away,
and glares, as if defying me to say
the light and space he occupies are mine.
My sorrow builds until its density
absorbs the light between us and my mind
grows dark. I think of my daughter, confined
to her apartment in a far-off city
where a plague patrols the streets; the sadness
in her voice each time we speak. Images leak:
morgue trucks lined up like taxis in the streets,
the only sound — a ventilator’s hiss.
I pay, shamed by my silence, as he smirks
and, as I leave, approaches the young clerk.
Phil Keller is a recovering lawyer who lives in Montpelier, Vermont with his wife. He began writing poetry ten years ago during a mid-life crisis. His work has previously appeared in Prairie Schooner and Silo