Examine the word "embrace"
How syllables escape into sound
E - M - BR - A - CE
A gentle approach
E... arms open wide
an elongated welcome
Lips parted into a smile
M... a joining together
BR... limbs entangling
A... the one enclosed
CE... teeth in contact, lips dangle
Hold that position
No letting go. No gaps. No holes
In bracchium -- this is your home.
Hug -- to console
a rush, a thud, an immediate response
H - U - G. Hug.
Here. Now. Tighter.
Speech Pathology & Linguistics.
How the mouth works, how we make sense of words -- Why does your face look like that when you say those words?
Anthropology. Semiotics. Etymology.
Notice how we gather and release,
what we do to make an embrace, a hug.
Mouths feel before nerves could touch.
Have we yearned so much that utterances have become placeholders?
Settling for words, we fixate on how we say them
Read my lips gained a new meaning
Opening and closing,
holding and releasing,
Wishing an action upon someone is not tantamount to sensations of nerve-endings
But bodies never really touch
Atoms push and pull
It's the physics around them that we feel
When palms caress
When fingers trace
When skin brushes upon skin
Let the physics of my words be enough until our electrons can interact again
In a dance
The expanse between your atoms and mine is dismissible as long as you hold on to the words "embrace" and "hug" and "kiss" and "love" and the anatomy of how these words come to be
Until then, I wrap my whispers around yours
Their warmth is the 3rd law of motion in action
Written: May 4, 2020 amidst the implementation of lockdowns in various regions of the Philippines as part of the effort against COVID-19 spread.
This has been published in Beyond PGH: The Human Spirit Project Anthology, a collection of literary pieces written by healthcare workers and other contributors.