A Poem in Defense of Joe Biden

The Public Hug
by Robert Hershon

we’re leaving the restaurant
and here is an old friend home from spain
we embrace my luncheon companions
coworkers with the surnames of elizabethan poets
stand aside later there are jokes about men
who hug men in public

listen: i hug men
i hug women children cats dogs drunks and uncles
i know the texture of people’s hair
how much weight their shoulders can support
i’m a patter and a toucher and a kisser
once i playfully punched a friend in the arm
he turned unexpectedly and i smashed his glasses
those are the chances you take

we worked together for four years
maybe bumped in a doorway once
scattering dust from those fragile wings
now i’m gone and you’ll never know
whether my hands are hot or cold
so i’ll tell you: hot and getting hotter

From The Writer’s Almanac: “The Public Hug” by Robert Hershon from The Yellow Shoe Poets: Selected Poems 1964-1999. © Louisiana State University Press, 1999. Reprinted with permission.


  1. Barnard Collier says

    Brilliant choice.

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