The Early Bus from Valverde

by Eliot Khalil Wilson

I will maintain the social distancing,
masked, mindful of my hands, way in the back
where you can see me, but I am not seen.

Ten feet, a waiter’s eyes, cautious and mean,
then a woman dressed in barista black.
I will maintain the social distancing.

Mechanics bring the smell of gasoline.
Windows locked, five feet, neither wears a mask
and you can see them, but they are not seen.

Walmart clerks board and stare at their phone screens.
Six office cleaners climb up and file back.
Welcome all to blue collar quarantine.

We move in held breath like a submarine.
Still there is distance though the bus is packed.
We will maintain the social distancing.

At the light idles a lewd limousine.
From tinted windows, smoke escapes the cracks.
They will maintain the social distancing.
They can all see us, but we are not seen.

Eliot Khalil Wilson has published three books of poems and won more prizes than he could ever deserve, two Fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Bush Foundation Grant among them, as well as prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets. Liz Baron is an artist and restaurateur who lives in Texas by way of New York City. She and her husband, Jim, founded, own and operate four Mexican-Southwestern restaurants. She got her Bachelor of Fine Art from Pratt Institute but stopped painting when restaurant work and family life consumed most of her time. She is grateful to the online art classes of Sketchbook Skool that helped her regain the joy of a regular art practice

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