Obituary 2020

The handshake has died today

along with hugs, helping hands

high fives, fist bumps, cheek pinches

finger-licking goodness

the happy sounds of audiences

clapping, snapping, slapping

hands are dead.

Love in a time of corona

means no touching, skin

sanitized and air-kisses

six feet apart absolutely

no French, no feeling the flesh

means watch us, grandma,

no hands and don't reach

for us with warm hugs, grips

older than generations before

survivors of wars, plagues, germs

unknown to the early dead

hands have been around

since the very beginning

used to kill and maim, build, lift up

and beckon, beat, work, spank

speak volumes, flash signs, wash up

and get dirty again and again.

Hands that cared for southpaws

left or right in the white

rooms white beds white coats

blue gloves that probe

folded in final prayers.

Time to stop counting on fingers

and start lining up

for relief of paws, claws

feral tails wagging

pattering by windows

closed to contamination

to cries of the weakened

laid out on the doorstep

with today's delivery.

No more handing over

your dirty coins, cash

stay back behind the safety glass

and when the siren wails

lock yourself in a stall

and come out slowly

arms high in the air

touch no one else

with your dangerous


deadly hands.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Poetry has appeared in Fourth & Sycamore, Flatbush Review, Penny Ante Feud, ink sweat and tears, r.kv.r.y quarterly literary journal, New Verse News, Dissident Voice, Synchronized Chaos, The Rye Whiskey Review, and elsewhere. Chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016), Days' End (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2017), Final Arrangements (Prolific Press, 2019), and the disappearing self (Kelsay Books, 2020).