Everyone is alive somehow
mowing dead grass and fighting
pizza boxes into a recycling bin.
Things don’t fit right or
is that me descending
a staircase, splintering apart beneath
the morning’s blowtorch sun.
Bare feet on rough concrete,
a parade of black ants crawling
through the cracks. Oak trees thrash
and sigh—their gorgeous heads
on fire. I am pharmaceuticaled,
squinting into the golden gallop
of blown leaves. The wind
chimes glitter and swing across
our quarantined boundaries:
you in your box, I in mine.
We haven’t smiled in weeks.
Shall I play the blond gamine
or the sad, googly-eyed freak?
By the time I decide, you’ve turned
away, missed my blurry lorazepam
cameo, my slept-in athleisure
smeared with toothpaste. I can’t see well
without my glasses on, how soft
the world has become, edgeless
from a distance. I can almost dip
my finger inside the oil slick
of this viscous mirage. I can
almost taste the beer-scented sweat
of my neighbor’s neck, and pang
lonely deep for the lost time
of touch—how close we used to be.
Hadara Bar-Nadav is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, and other honors. Her award-winning books include The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017); Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012), Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), awarded the Margie Book Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Fountain and Furnace (Tupelo Press, 2015), awarded the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and Show Me Yours (Laurel Review/Green Tower Press 2010), awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize. In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. (Pearson, 2011). She is a Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.