Contagious                                                                                by Dennis Etzel Jr.

Funny how a word we don't want  
 to embody could catch on so fast.  
 Even six feet becomes a punchline  
 as the tailgater continues too close  
 despite what is in front of us.  
 Someone knocks on the front door  
 & I panic. Similar to scrolling  
 down through Facebook, I have to 

 tell myself to stop, to stop.  
 Even its etymology switches  
 between what we don’t want  
 & need, from contagion: con-  
 together with & tangere  
 to touch.  

Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others.  

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.  

One thought on “Contagious                                                                                by Dennis Etzel Jr.

  1. Thank you Dennis. I love the sometimes tragic and always fascinating spirals of etymology.

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