By Cathy Wilson
None of us could have envisaged this –
a warp in time where social norms are gone –
we who go about our lives unnoticed
fitting in the spaces between everyone
else. Like epiphytes, we exist in half-light
never truly rooted in the teeming floor
of the forest, with its constant appetite
ubiquitous tentacles, and ever-present roar.
Years of quiet adaptation, waiting perhaps
for just one giant strangler fig to topple
to let in more light, even out the gaps
wobble the rules of survival.
If you are one of us, you’ll know
this is our time. At least for now.
So I’m in my bedroom camera-ready
for the call, two or three yeses
and a maybe.
Camera-ready on the hottest day of the year
open window and full-on fan
pushing empty promises.
Minutes trickle by before caller two
dressed only I gather in apologies
says: I’ve switched off my video.
Where to look? As we wait for caller three
I catch my screen self looking foolish.
If I turn off my video now what does that say?
So I’m the one caught in the corner
of my best room, feeling undressed.
And there’s no caller three.
Talking to a blank is a new elsewhere
neither phone nor Skype. And it’s
not just that our eyes can never meet.
It’s the danger that somewhere
Cathy Wilson lives in Bristol, and teaches poetry part-time. Her first career was in ecology, which continues to inspire her writing. Cathy has contributed to several locally produced anthologies.
I wrote this poem after several weeks of working from home and hearing how Lockdown was adversely impacting on ‘everyone’. As an introvert I was actually feeling better than for years and suspected I wasn’t alone.
The first weeks of Lockdown were full of technological mishaps and endless cries of ‘you’re on mute’ as office workers got to grips with virtual meetings. This poem was inspired by an unforeseen aspect of working from home.