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The bugs in a hug

Books & Poetry

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The social graces that make some of us internally cringe are captured in an awkward hug by English born poet Joyce Freedman.

A health hazard

Whenever I meet my girlfriends for coffee
they greet me by wrapping their arms
like pincers around me,
hugging me tight;

those rhythmic pats on the back I return
are not of  mutual affection
but a plea for restraint.
The kiss lands near, not on the cheek

as if they’ve aimed but missed.
Now the dilemma – is it one kiss or two?
Should I turn the other cheek?
I screw up my face to prepare

for a second performance.
Probably a hug can’t kill you
but now we know a handshake is unhygienic
soon we’ll discover the bugs in a hug.

Joyce Freedman was born in Wimbledon in England and has lived in Canberra since 1972. She is a former public servant, has studied painting at the ANU and seen her poems published in The Canberra Times, Quadrant and other magazines. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the ACT Writers Centre’s Michael Thwaites Poetry Award.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems up to 30 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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