In hospitals, hovels and houses they wait
knowing deeply they’re about to die.
At that time when the well runs dry
the soul agonizes, missing the water
that quells the thirst for the love
and touch of another. Emptiness,
thirst are what there is. No consolation
of friend or family, only the rule
DO NOT TOUCH
words of a guard at an art museum
in this time of people confined alone
like paintings hung on a museum wall
to be talked about in painterly terms like
doctors discussing removal of a ventilator.