I approach the bayou pond.
A family of four stands blocking my path.
Grandpa, grandma, mom,
and a little girl
no more than eighteen months of age.
I rehearse my Covid dance.
Step to the edge of the sidewalk,
they will do the same.
Greet each other with a smiling hello,
and we’ll all move on.
Except they stand immobile
blocking two-thirds of the walkway.
Slowly and deliberately
the child takes a step forward,
then another, then another.
The family stands transfixed
as she heads my way.
Instinctively I bend forward.
“Hi. You’re so beautiful.”
Her eyes entrained with mine.
By now she is two feet away,
leaning toward me,
“I’m sorry, I can’t hug you.”
The three adults come out of their trance.
Mom takes the child by the hand
and gently leads her to the side.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic,” I sigh,
“she’d be in my arms.”
Grandpa smiles his approval.
As we part company,
the child gives a backward glance.
Innocent of Covid,
all she wants is a hug.