Incelibate Separation

by Ken Gosse

She coughed, but I moved closer
’cause I didn’t fear the spread
of the warmness of her welcome
’neath the sheets upon the bed.
I’d stayed inside where I could hide—
a fortnight of unease—
but she’d gone out a few times
just to buy necessities.

First we scrubbed and washed our hands
and then we brushed our teeth;
used disinfectants on our nails
in case bugs hid beneath,
and then, when through (a time or two)
we scrubbed each other’s backs
and netherlands and washed our hands
in case bugs hid in cracks.

She coughed again, but then I stood
behind a filtered mask
while watching through a window
as a team was put to task
to monitor each labored breath—
equipment everywhere—
but no one else could enter
just to let her know we’re there.

I’m pretty certain that was her;
her name was on the door.
I hadn’t seen her face
since we arrived an hour before.
Then suddenly I had to leave,
though tempted to implore
they let me stay, but they said they
need every inch of floor.

Today they called and told me
that the worst for her had passed,
that they’d removed the tubes
and I could bring her home at last.
I snatched our special bottle
off the shelf so I might quaff
a quick shot’s celebration—
and to settle a slight cough.

Ken Gosse usually writes metric, rhyming, light verse. First published in FLR–East in 2016 and since by Pure Slush, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

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