by Yvonne Zipter
The stoniest of my nurses, but she’d said yes
that day. It was my anniversary. In the lobby,
my love looked up, brown eyes so familiar,
I could have cried. It’d been six days.
She looked up and then she looked away.
Gowned, masked, carrying a plastic box
like an ant farm tunneled with fluid
from my lung, the tube to my chest
invisible beneath my gown, I was
a stranger to her. I called her name.
Two layers of cloth separated our lips.
It was the sweetest kiss I’ve known.
Yvonne Zipter is the author of the poetry collections Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Like Some Bookie God. She is also the author of two nonfiction books: Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet. Her Russian historical novel, Infraction, will be published June 1, 2021. She is retired from the University of Chicago Press, where she was a manuscript editor. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC. Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.