by Margaret Ruckert
Let me take you to February 2020. A local shopping centre. There’s something different. Not the noise level. Not the crowds. It’s subtle … all these faces behind masks, simply more masks than normal. Uneasy, I leave. Intuition was right. But what is wrong? covidversation FIRST WEEKS I can’t get away from the world NEWS the mass of cases MESS of numbers China this Singapore that figures in MASKS shielded eyes wrapped angst against the UNSEEN EXPERTS deliver a prognosis worse than the worst their stance stoic to serene busy GRAPHS contain us mathematics has it covered we’re taught by voices who can prove their point one-way conversations DOCTORS talking tech the economy bleeds people my home is TRIAGE central stacked with BODIES we can but watch switch on switch on DEATH I’m one click away from TRAGEDY next-door this virus has an audience then the rested rebel HANDS up who wants freedom like a novel particle to SPREAD in my FACE protests are SOCIAL there’s immunity in numbers DISTANCING is anti the great mantra of COVID-19 being home and alone means LONELY for too many while introverts sigh we close our lives for others bow to the CURVE skies see a future cities cool our PLANET calms
Margaret Owen Ruckert B Sc M Ed gained third place in the Society of Women Writers 2019 National Writing Competition – Poetry, having won in 2007. Her book musefood won the 2012 IP Poetry Book of the Year. Her tanka appear in international journals. Following a science and education career, she now facilitates the Hurstville Discovery Writers.