Social Distancing

My dear, I can’t stay. 
You have a disease, I’m afraid – 
Income less than 20K
Per year. After bills paid, 
None at all! 
A fatal flaw. 

My dear, cover your mouth!
You shouldn’t shout
Where I can hear – I read about
A plan to route
Your problem – 
Fences.

My dear, take this mask – 
It pains me to see
Your poverty. 
Kindly cover your need, 
Lest you infect me
With charity.


I’m deeply concerned over the urban society that will emerge once we “re-open.”

Social distancing – while a necessary response to an airborne contagion – has a socioeconomic component as well.

Anyone who can afford to move away from dense population centers, or otherwise stratify their existence, will do so. Anyone who can’t afford to move or avoid public transit or work from home will be – not to put too fine a point on it – screwed.

They’ll be stigmatized for a while, while society’s attention holds. Long-term, they’ll just be neglected and ignored, until the situation becomes so bad it’s declared a “blight” and a “public health crisis” and the whole thing is bulldozed. Literally and metaphorically.

Here, then, is our challenge: to maintain the physical rationale of non-contagion, while understanding that there is no meaningful separation between any of us when faced with mortality.

I would rather base a plea for caring on shared life – but life is easy to ignore. People do it all the time. Death is not so easy to ignore. So she carries the message.

Here is the antidote to apathy and apartness. Let Death, in one of her guises, tap you on the shoulder every now and then. Listen when she says: “The Life of one is the Life of many, the problems of one are the problems of all. My child, my loved one – as I seek you, seek compassion.”


Published by Marushka

I dream curiosity and write words that change brains.

7 thoughts on “Social Distancing

  1. The answer is simple;
    Embrace death.
    It used to be the expected outcome of life, now, instead, we have hospital.
    I still fear death but I will do all I can to face down the fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, it’s about understanding it as one of the only true shared experiences and thus, the root of empathy. Once you glimpse what it’s like to inhabit another’s mind – and that really only comes when you identify yourself in that other mind – you can’t set aside their struggles and needs. – As always, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hadn’t noticed arrogance 🙂 I think we each take comfort in different levels of fatalism. You’re more the “rip the bandaid right off” brand of wisdom – and that has something to offer, too. It’s just not a place I can allow myself to go right now on a regular basis. I understand you may not have the luxury of choosing.

        Liked by 1 person

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