Isolation’s color bleeds into the hallways of my house

to the street of my town, to the plazas and the bridges and the riverbanks and the parks and the museums’ stairs and all the stop signs.

It paints the chairs and the tables and the drive-through windows and the countertops and the clothes racks and the smiles of my children.

And I can’t decide what the color of isolation is? Blue like my mask? White like my coat? Green like my scrub? What is the smell of isolation? Sterility? Sanitizers? Chloride? Plastic breathing mask? Nasal oxygen tubes? The Advil bottle on my nightstand?

Six feet apart. Rooms apart. What is the shape of isolation? Is it the ache for a hug. For a kiss. Does ache have a shape? Maybe it looks like a crumbled surgical glove thrown in the “Hazardous Materials” bin.

Rana Bitar is a Syrian American physician, poet, and writer. She earned her Master’s in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Her poetry appeared in The Deadly Writers Patrol journal, DoveTales, Earthen Lamp Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Magnolia Review, El Portal, Pacific REVIEW, and The Charleston Anvil.

Her essay, The Sliding Door, was published in The Pharos, Winter 2020 issue.

Her poetry chapbook, “A Loaf Of Bread,” was published by “Unsolicited Press,” January 8, 2019. “A Loaf Of Bread” was a finalist in the “Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition” in 2017, and won an honorable mention in “The 2017 Louis Award” for poetry.

She lives and practices medicine in upstate NY.