By Eveline Pye
The Shapes We Walk In
At the lights, four people form the vertices
of a two metre square, stand waiting
for green, then snake downhill, curving
away from another coming up.
A straight-line queue outside the mall,
each person, equidistant in a mask,
bows their head over cupped hands
receives a blessing of anti-viral gel.
Shoppers deviate to avoid collisions,
irregular trajectories, straight lines
followed by semi-circular deviations;
magnetic repulsion from contact.
Muffled conversations, children talking
behind their hands in church. Bluetooth
measures the social distance between us
‒ parallel lines can never touch.
In the Time of Covid
the surreal becomes real, the new normal
Christmas silence settles on everyday streets
seagulls scream through megaphones, signal
a new supremacy in an absense of planes
cars play statues, immobilised by invisible clamps
as pure air dives deep into damaged lungs
gardens are camouflage green; red geraniums,
rainbow pansies, primroses wilt in nurseries
cherry blossom falls in lockdown playgrounds
drifts of pink snow wither, turn to litter
radios report care home staff wear aprons
made from bin liners, makeshift Marigolds
drone cameras, in New York city, capture
masked men in white suits filling mass graves
when death lurks unseen in other people
we are marooned, each man is an island
Eveline Pye‘s collection, Smoke That Thunders, was published by Mariscat Press (2015) and, from it, the poem Mosi-Oa-Tunya was chosen for the 20 Best Scottish Poems of that Year.