Separated by the Bay Bridge
by Gerard Sarnat

and often relative
competitors (e.g., chess)
since fifth grade

we sometimes kissing
cousins lived across
Maple Drive from

each other when
our kin (my mother,
his dad) were close

then enhanced
that family intimacy
over next fleeting

six-plus decades
as well as generations
of grand/kids

spending random free
time, vacations, every
Thanksgiving together

even if meeting required
driving long distances
or flying above oceans.

Myriad MDs in our clan
could be counted on to
weigh in to assure during

difficult illnesses,
cancer hadn’t spread to
chest/ lungs etcetera.

But nowadays, although
basically only separated
by the Bay Bridge

more frequently than not
proves beyond our ken
how you or I can manage

various mid-septuagenarian
stuff enough to find ways
or means one or another

of us will finagle what it takes
to travel a bit for those such
very sustaining group hugs.

PHOTO: Oakland Bay Bridge (California) by Rich Hay on Unsplash

photo gerry sarnat

Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. He is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., Universities of Chicago/ Maine/ San Francisco/Toronto, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Penn, Dartmouth, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Baltimore) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Northampton Poetry Review, Peauxdunque Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Kurt Vonnegut Museum Library Literary Journal, South Broadway Press, Parhelion, Clementine, pamplemousse, Red Wheelbarrow, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, poetica, Tipton Journal, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Buddhist Poetry Review, Poets And War, Thank You For Your Service Anthology, Wordpeace, Lowestoft Chronicle, 2020 International Human Rights Art Festival, Indolent Books, Snapdragon, Pandemonium Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Montana Mouthful, Arkansas Review, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Brooklyn Review, pacific REVIEW, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast, The New York Times, Review Berlin, London Reader, Voices Israel, Foreign Lit, New Ulster, Oslo Griffel, Transnational, Southbank, Wellington Street Review, and Rome Lotus-Eaters. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). A physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO, he is currently devoting energy/ resources to deal with climate change justice. Married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, he is looking forward to future granddaughters. Visit him at