Let me be more than a flicker, a distant face seen across zoom. by Joshua J. Hines

Was I ever anything but shadow
cast on a prison wall? I’ve forgotten,
how home can be anything but a cage

full of silhouettes—people’s screen-lit forms
flitting through my days like grief-stricken ghosts
Each connection’s grown so cold absent of touch,

will I remember warmth, too long removed
from the sun, the world—all those people
 trapped inside? Will I know when I’m found

chained to my laptop, watching life—afraid.
I’ve lost track of weeks and hours watching
skies turn ashen; communities destroyed—

each day we’re made captive or refugee
dependent on fickle winds. Maybe both. 
I’m scared of wind, fire at our backs. I’m scared

I’ve forgotten when I knew the world
a different way or what it meant to live
as anything but a shadow fleeing flames.

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