Out of Time

Delighted that my Out of Time poem has just been published on Dwelling During the Pandemic, Ohio State University’s Poetry Project website. Thank you to editor Zoe Thompson for selecting it. There are many brilliant poems on the site including Mustafa Illgin’s poetry film The Long Road, Angela Foyle’s ghazal, a Covid shape poem by Jessica Winter, Michaela Dengg’s Instagram poems and much more.

Out of Time

One March day streets peeled away

in a rear memory mirror as the world

shrunk to us and our back garden.

On the second day I was forbidden

to take pets I didn’t have

for an imaginary walk so I strolled

along allotment back lanes

spying nude mannequins

sparrows in nestbuilding fervour.

Tearful people flicked switches

on new time. Lucky ones opened

a portal through worked soil, shared stories

of late frosts, signs their seeds were growing.

Somebody said sun cream

might help or was it paracetamol?

On the tenth day actors stood too

close in A Fish Called Wanda.

They hugged and chatted and fought

while little dogs got caught in the crossfire.

On day thirteen I should have

packed an overnight bag

had my medication ready

but on day thirteen and a half

I turned off notifications.

By day nineteen fringes were flowing

over noses, beards caused accidents

postwomen in summer shorts struggled

with greedy parcels down empty streets.

On the twenty eighth day footballs

missed their goals, running tracks melted

swimming pools ran dry and swings hung lifeless.

On the thirty second day politicians

polished their falsehoods

windows spontaneously opened and shut

applause flickered across hawthorn 

to the accompaniment of urgent wrens.

On day thirty seven Teams broke up

Houseparties squabbled, Zooms

ploughed into slow lanes.

On the fortieth day pavements

longed for the press of feet

echoes of laughter, snails prayed

for a slick of loud rain, yearned to smear

their fresh paths across silent sunshine.

Sue Dymoke

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