By Tracey Pearson
Sonnet I: Lockdown
My lockdown days are nothing like the rest,
no sourdough starter, no working from home,
no online, Zoom time, career beating best,
no deadlines, meetings, just sitting alone.
I have heard people complaining, sighing,
listing each minute, so full of busy,
saying each day is brimming, competing
with peers, until they prove they’re not lazy.
But there are many good people like me
who have nothing to go back to, yet hope
the new normal will be open and free,
a future to breathe, a future not choked.
A future table big enough for all
where everyone is valued – none feel small.
Flat 108, Hope Tower
She can’t see the muse yet, but
she can feel a warmth, even
though the £1.57 left on the
electric metre means she’ll have
to go easy on the heating today.
The view from the fifteenth floor
of the tower block window is a
dot-to-dot of rain drops on
a silver sky background. Her nest bed
vantage point on the world outside
makes her feel like she’s floating.
Days like these give her a migraine.
It’s the eleventy-fifth day
of lockdown, her feet are
beginning to forget what shoes
feel like. The toast diet is tiring.
Radio news is repetitive. There
are no bananas in her fruit-bowl
if there’s a second wave
of banana bread. The shop
on the estate doesn’t sell them.
She picks up her pen and writes.
Snow has fallen on the Sahara,
the parks are full, the pubs are shut,
breath is measured in daily stats.
Shops are essential, children are
missing school, arms are missing
hugs, strangers are missing each other.
Funerals are shrunken, mourners
are rationed, tears are not.
Smiles are masked, snow melts
in the Saharan sun.
We’re balanced on the needle tip,
waiting, inert, unsure
in the silent space between breaths.
Gazebos are the new inside, outside
as a nation
we’re trying to embrace café culture.
It’s not easy up here, next to the North Sea
but we laugh it off,
welcome the cold to the table.
Two metres of hope between us.
Tracey is a poet and flash fiction writer from Newcastle upon Tyne. Her writing is published in print magazines, anthologies and online.