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Half a Million Ghosts

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

By Kathie Platt

Half a million ghosts

beckon from beyond this now unfamiliar space of our world

Each with his or her own story of sorrow and pain,

Of suffering and dying in an enforced solitude

separated from us by the observant ways

Of pandemic protocol

Peering through glass, or virtual space,

One last time before passing beyond our temporal reach

Gestures, assurances, condolences, and farewells

All muted by the profanity of unnatural distance

Now the norm in a society, a world, overtaken

By an invisible invader, a spiky protein,

Claiming its always surprising and offensive conquest

Regardless of previous health or age

Although the elderly and the unwell fall first and fastest

The young and fit are not far behind

Creating an even more urgent race for a cure,

any possible protection against this threat

To our substance and breath,

this annihilation of our once celebrated liveliness

This accursed and ever-present temptation to join the legions of the dying

Which we resist with clumsy masks and even more awkward quarantine,

With fitful social isolation and tedious virtual space

Making ghosts also of all us who still draw breath

Daring the invader to subside so that we might

Become real again, tangible and tangent,

Connected and coherent,

in corporeal time and space

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