“I don’t think we should ever shake hands again.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, April 9, 2020
It’s not just business.
We’d create a workaround for that.
A norm to signify trust via
elbow tap or shoulder brush –
a thing with our hips bumping together.
Provided, one day, business still exists,
the deals will get done.
We’ll figure out family BBQs too.
Smiles are languages all their own.
There can always be another way
to tell my father I love him.
But consider the cracked landscape of the world.
You drive to Quebec, no more pecks on the cheek.
No noses bumping in Yemen. In West Africa,
I’d marvel at the salutations. Couldn’t go for a walk
in my friend’s village without stopping every few feet
for another marathon round of touching your neighbour
and your neighbour touching you
and asking after each other’s health and families
and offering blessings. It was annoying
when you needed to get somewhere,
though the overall effect was care
It’s not like more deference would hurt.
The bow, the hand to the heart, taking a knee
before elders. But our skins,
I feel, would be right for the aching.
Maybe it’s all too human to think
the world exists more poorly
without our hold on it, but it’s not a matter
of living, it’s how you want to live.
Not that the world is possible but
what it’s possible for.
It is, of course, who we love.
But also, especially, how
we love them.