The Slow Hug by Rythea Lee

Rythea Lee is a Massachusetts performance artist, musician, writer, activist and therapist. Her most recent achievement is a 20-episode YouTube series called Advice From A Loving Bitch that pairs with a published curriculum. Her creative work tends to balance irreverent humor with emotional education and healing. She lives in Hampshire County.

The Slow Hug

The last time I saw you
you were rushing to get somewhere
and you gave me a rushed hug
as we all did back then

Back then, hugs were so normal
we did them all day long
and yeah, they were great, and all

But we had no idea that soon
they would be a dream
of something as essential as water,
than a collective exhale

And all of a sudden, no hugs
no touching, no sitting close,
no side by side, no holding hands,
no kissing cheeks, braiding hair, patting backs,
rubbing faces, and no hugs
no hugging

So now when I see you
it almost hurts more to see you
than not see you
because I’m such a touchy person
and my whole body moves to embrace you,
because that is who I am,
and I love you so much

But I am allowed to see you with my eyes
and hear you with my ears
and vibe with you
and chat
and dance with you
and care for you
and want you from a distance and enjoy
that I have someone I want

What a precious, precious joy
to want you and to have
someone to want to want

I never want to rush by you again
and think that rushing is normal

I’m so happy that now I’ve slowed down enough
to experience that when I love you,
I’m hugging you,
with my heart