Life was a road to the vanishing point,
something surged on the horizon—
a swarm. A rising hum of unknowns.

On our way, shoulders brushed shoulders
on trains and buses, elbows cleaved throngs.
We forced to the front of the crush

when there was no room. Voices
hived in ambience, we blended in
aerosols, haloed in exhalation.

Interior atmospheres merged,
but we lived and lived.
We cross-pollinated each other’s lungs,

kissed our mothers, fathers and friends.
Strangers’ mouths bared nuance,
marionette lines creased, nostrils flared air.

Incoming fear was a thing to overcome,
not yet terror— not yet
a hunker-down, hope death will drift by.

Evolution hadn’t threatened to swing
its oldest mace. The Morning Star
sparked at the terminus,

called to the floating ghosts. We weren’t
playing tag with the devil, then—
it wasn’t everyone, everyone wasn’t it.

River Elizabeth Hall (she/her) is a poet and naturalist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bear Review, Pontoon Poetry, Main Street Rag, Nimrod and Tinderbox among others. Her chapbook, “Call a Body Home” was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. More about her writing and other offerings can be found at RiverElizabethHall.com