I’m okay during the day. There’s lots to do and in between the TV bulletins updating us on the steepening infection curve, the increasingly ravaged images of angry, exhausted doctors and nurses on the front line and the sad, baffled faces of politicians sharing our fear and incomprehension, I’ve been here before: I’m on holiday and the time beat of the day has adjusted to the slow, muffled background thump of hours without agenda or direction.
But at night I wake up suddenly. I open my eyes and the stars are looking back at me, cold and indifferent. Sometimes I’m able to sleep again immediately. But too frequently there’s something about that indifference, that absolute implacability that has me out of bed and downstairs, fearful and alone…
THEIR VOICES IN THE NIGHT
Unable to sleep, I sit before
the heartless brilliance of the screen
with the real-world darkness
hovering, fresh-minted, glossy
at the window. It’s as if time
has packed her bags and left
for the coast and then beyond.
Fear leans on the back of my chair
in his poacher’s coat, deep pockets
full of gin-traps, poison, shiny knives.
I take off my glasses, knuckle away
the mess of my tears. And then,
like a gaggle of drunks through
a suddenly opened door, the geese
are overhead. Some crass dispute
as to the whereabouts of water
in the impossible night, their voices
skronking inside a collision of
cranking necks and wings. As they
tumble through the unseen clouds,
I laugh out loud and love them all
for their unconsidered vandalism,
neither thought nor theory troubling
the palate of their need.