the enemy within

by Brenda Saunders

nothing is what it seems these days    
your friend is your enemy    a stranger  
your ‘distance’ friend    anxiety
becomes your inner controller
you join ‘the man in the mask’   
exemplar of our time   wear them   
make copies for friends   shield from
the invisible threat living among us
there is danger on the bus   on the cool slip
of chrome (gloves and mask obligatory)
as you sit on the sticker marked in green
en route to the ‘weekly shop’
you lose all sense of smell and touch                             
as you fumble fruit into bags   your fingers
trapped in leather.  If you trip no one
offers a hand  ( except to swipe your card)
at home a daughter arrives    yells a message
from the street    you wave to the grandchild
you can’t quite hear   tell them you’re fine
nod yes   yes everything’s fine. 

Poet biography:
Brenda is a writer and artist of Wiradjuri and British descent from Sydney. She has published three poetry books and her next collection Inland Sea is due for publication in 2020. Many of her poems have appeared in anthologies and journals both online and in print, including Australian Poetry JournalOverland, Quantum, Southerly and Westerly. She is a mentor for Black Cockatoo, the Emerging Indigenous Poets site at Verity La.

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