so it comes
to night time curfews
morbid counts
on hours and days
creeping stains
on linen
and blame
joy in short supply
hope alike
in bleaker moments
undiminished by comparisons
until this
sky shaken down
cloud ball spreading
then rocket speed
across another metropolis
taking all in a moment
a moment of silence
a stillness wake
then wailing
and I in screenbound
isolation watching
at safe electronic distance
I would be infected
in preference
to that
even lost
be made
a bird
to never kiss again
with soft lips
on unfeathered skin
would fly to such
other place
as the disease
might take me
rather than
be caught in that
unimaginable confusion

what though
if I called
that city
would I shudder long after
the shudder of the blast
and think ‘enough’
then find
against that wish
another heartbeat
a ceaseless diaphragm
dragging smoke
into reluctant lungs
the great filter
of my being’s body
distilling from the toxic haze
sweet oxygen
and in
a number
not so great
of breaths
be digging
with bare hands
in rubble
or find myself
hardly knowing how
a shredded stranger

– richard holt


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