I’m here to lift you out of the dark well
you find yourself in, people passing by
as if all is right with the world. The young,
with their audacious laughter, couples in love
holding hands in the park, neighbors
pulling out of their driveways for the ride to work.
You tell me you have become invisible, life
narrowed to a stream choked with weeds.
Once the hub of a many spoked wheel,
you now sit in a room disconnected from
all you knew, minutes stretching out
like an abandoned railroad track leading to nowhere.
I ask myself, where have all the families gone?
Generational houses where stories were passed
on, giving a sense of place to our lives, where
a child would not have to come home from school
to an empty house, neighbors who watch out
for each other, dropping over for a cup of coffee.
The world has grown ravenous for touch, amidst
the tumble tangle of wires snaking from room
to room, cacophony of TV, its dreary drone drone
on from morning to night, casting a flickering
blue light. I am the Minister of Loneliness, appointed
by the government to cherish you, to hold your hand.
Barbara Southard was Suffolk County Poet Laureate 2019-2021. She is a visual artist, author of poems & short stories, board member of LIPC. Books published include Remember 2008, Time & Space 2020