by Anne-Marie Oomen 

04/09/2020, Empire, MI

Adult Category 

I walked the empty road to a neighbor’s house.
I hesitated to knock—I’d have to touch the door,
but then I did. She came, her hair mussed,
smiled, and put her palm against the glass
and I put mine against the cool on my side.

Did it warm—I’m not sure, and I asked
what she needed, and she said she was good,
doing fine, though her eyes were red,
and like I said, her hair was not combed;
nor was mine, so what’s the deal? Then

she said she was isolating herself,
because she’d taught straight to the end,
had been in their presence all the way until
they had left her room to board their planes,
and I nodded, asked if I could bring her wood

for the stove, she smiled, yes, that would
be good, and kindling if I had extra. I did.
And as I turned away, I saw our warming print,
the glass impressed with mist condensed,
the wrinkled ring where callouses had rested,

and too, the see-through hollow at the center,
where our palms had faced each other’s,
but had not flattened against that border—there,
no smudge of touch, and I could see where
our first language should have been.