Poems of the Week

Who Wants a Hug?

by David Southward

For lockdown blues, I don’t take drugs;
I picture rounds of thankful hugs
I’ll give my mom and dad and friends
when this goddamned pandemic ends.

I daydream cousins, uncles, aunts—
seizing the slightest circumstance
to try my virtual hugging art
on all who populate my heart.

Colleagues, book club, yoga class;
familiar faces that I pass
walking the dog; our mailman; clerks
who bag my groceries—even jerks

who’ve snubbed my real-life pleasantries
give in to a fictitious squeeze.
And on bleak days, when more self-care
is needed? Heck, I don’t stop there:

I hug all life forms within reach—
the students I don’t even teach;
cell phone vendors; dogs and cats;
Republicans and Democrats

and Independents. Without shame,
I hug the poor, the weak, the lame,
the rich and mighty—not content
until I’ve hugged the president!