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July 2019 Vol. 15 No. 2

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Glenn G. Coats


I am not contagious. My phone is not ringing. Friends aren’t calling, asking when we are going fishing, asking me to study the tide charts and water temperatures, wanting to know if the ocean pan-fish are on the move, or if flounder are moving from brackish creeks out into open water. The phone is quiet.

I am not contagious. There are no new messages about band rehearsals, no lists of songs to practice. No one is asking where I place my capo when I play “Nobody’s Child.” No one is wondering about Hank Snow and why he recorded a song about a blind orphan. There are no questions.

I am not contagious as the dog follows me in and out of waves. Strangers stop to pet her, ask about her spots, then bid me good day. No one is curious about test results or treatments. Here along the sand where gulls squabble and terns hit the water hard, no one has a clue who I am, and I feel fine.

no one fills
the seat next to mine
waiting room whispers

waiting room –
beyond the glass door
a stand of birches