(Inspired by “Small Kindness” by Danusha Laméris)
It’s relatively quiet on the hike-
minimal sounds of birds chirping,
lizards scurrying across the path,
footsteps against dry leaves and dirt.
The few hikers I meet have
facial expressions masked.
I can’t tell if they are smiling,
frowning, or the lips are flat-lined.
Out of nowhere comes this silent scream.
When will this all end?
When can I see your face again?
Like a mother holding the frustrations
of an impatient child,
I try and open to what’s here-
uncertainty, the wish for things to be different.
All I can do is thank a hiker
for stepping aside so I can pass,
wave to another hiker,
Enjoy your hike.
When I can’t see your face,
words and hand gestures
will have to be enough.
I still miss the smiles.