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#SIP Contest - Poem by Cooper Gillespie

Updated: May 2, 2020

“For Hugging My Friend


The severity of our situation struck me

The night my friend Susan arrived

“Heyyyyyyyy! So good to see you!”

Arms outstretched we hugged

A split second unconscious


Then I remembered

We are supposed to be social distancing

Increasing physical space

At least six feet between bodies

If we don’t want to be infected

If we don’t want to be a statistic

If we don’t want to be trapped

In our bedroom

With a corpse

I saw that video

I withdrew from her embrace

Her mouth moved

But I couldn’t hear her words because

I could still feel her energy on me

Pressing into my chest

Wrapping around my back

My nose in her hair

Breathing in molecules

Of her

I escaped

As soon as I could (politely)

Running to the safety of my house

My skin prickling with panic

Tearing off my clothes

Cursing myself for being

So stupid

For hugging my friend


Bio: Cooper Gillespie is a writer and musician. She was raised in the wettest parts of the Pacific Northwest but escaped to California as soon as she was able and was overjoyed to discover the sun actually exists. She is an MFA candidate at UC Riverside-Palm Desert, and her work has previously been published in Writer's Resist. When she's not writing, she is playing bass and singing in LANDROID. Presently, she resides in Landers, CA with her husband and their two enchanting hounds. Learn more at


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