Six Feet

Originally published in Headline Poetry and Presse, 2020
The length of my dog's leash. Meeting another,
twelve feet between wary humans,
dogs sniff nose to nose.

How tall my father was, or so he said, but
you couldn't always trust
everything he said.
Ask Mom.

The width of a cell in San Quentin Prison,
not counting men stacked in bunks,
stale air, no phone call.
No defense.

The distance between two not-yet-lovers, masked
strangers, no touch but eyes,
no hands, no mouths.
Alone together.

The depth of the average grave, except in genocides,
war, and pandemics like this one
when you have to share.
Don't die.

The width of my queen size mattress, enough
for two, most nights. Sometimes
I want it all for myself.
Tonight you stay.

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