Two Poems by Kimberly Ray

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE PEOPLE GONE?

Another December,
Another end of the road
As I look around and wonder,
Where have all the people gone?

Tucked in tighter to their circle
Under the guise of staying healthy,
They bother not to dine out or congregate.
O, where have all the people gone?

In their pj’s working at home
Two years on
but have they been the wiser
Or more isolated than society demanded?

It began with constant check-ins,
Reunions with Zooms,
“How are you getting on?” led to
“How have you been?”
O, where have all the people gone?

A text, a flirt, a wink, a necessity
To remain in contact without contact
Has all gone.
O, where have all the people gone?

A walk, a coffee date, a drink,
Dinner with friends,
Anything to maintain a semblance of normalcy.
O, where have all the people gone?

UNDER THE COVERS

The only place where I feel safe, under the
warmth of covers next to my bare skin. He
reaches out a hand to acknowledge my presence, for me to
acknowledge his. I curl over harder, inching farther away to the edge.
All to show that I am not okay, that I crave my own space.

I struggle over the act versus the lack of explanation that should exist.
My inaction has become my only voice, remaining silent when he prods
to know if I’m okay or need anything.
I need space, more space than this place allows.

“We don’t have to …” I whisper in reply.
“You mean you don’t want to.”
He understands more than I can say.

I need to leave this tension, this room closing in
but these covers, this space, I cling to
as the only tenderness that remains.
He waits for movement as I lay there
clinching, hoping, waiting for it to pass.

He tells me to breathe.
How can I relax when I just want to scream?

Kimberly Ray is the author behind the poetry series Coffee Shop Sessions (2018, 2020, and 2021). Her work has been published in Clay Literary, 3 Moon Magazine, Teen Belle Magazine, The Daily Drunk, the NoVa Bards 2020 Anthology, Confetti: WbtR Anthology 2021, and Poets Anonymous 30th Anniversary Anthology. Kimberly was awarded first place in the Love Poems category of Loudoun County Library Foundation’s 2020 Rhyme On poetry contest for her piece “In My Pocket.” She serves on the board of the writing group Write By The Rails as co-secretary and an active member of Spilled Ink, both based out of Prince William County, Virginia. Her poetry delves into the intricacies of relationships: the complex nature of discovery, attainment, and loss. She lives in Loudoun County, Virginia with her family. To find her latest work please visit: https://coffee-shop-sessions.com

Image by Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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