Between Us by Chris Rodgers

We start via Zoom, we try
to connect, but the bandwidth
has strangled your voice, frozen
your image to approximate blocks
of the light that reflects from your face
til even your name disappears.

So I call on the cell
put the speaker phone on,
hunch over the desk to hear you,
your gravelled voice reads me a poem,
then I, in return, do the same,

a wonder of bit-wise symbol exchange
crossing the ether by means I pretend
to understand, but don’t, truth be told,
any more than I knew what took place
when we did it in person in the time
before lock-down came between us.

The universe expands ever faster,
it seems, galaxies recede in the distance,
repelled by the force of the darkness between them.
You and I fly away from each other as well,
straining at whispers, faint glimmer of pixels.

“I don’t really know what that means” you say
to the poem that I read you. “Nor do I”, I confess,
as I picture you there in your downtown apartment
with me over here, in my office, alone, yet tethered
by a soft string of words, sharing unknowing together.

— from Juniper Volume 6, Issue 1