Safe distance. A poem by Rona Fitzgerald

The voice in my head is busy, reassuring.
But its variable – as if not enough air
is getting through.

Of course, it’s always been there, steadying
making sense of stuff – I make a great effort
not to speak out loud.

Singing helps, like in the musicals or films.
But not full songs now, ditties and lines
as if my brain is working away –

needing lots of energy to even grasp
the situation. I wear my scarf, gloves
and keep my distance.

In the queue in M&S food, a woman
is keen to chat – inching close as I squirm.
‘Do you think it’s the gulf stream?

More like global warming I say, through lovely
to have good weather in lockdown.
‘I mean the virus, she says, I saw it on TV.’

I try to clarify; the virus is transmitted by us –
humans, not the gulf stream. At the next till
another woman says she’ll try magnets in her shoes!


Rona Fitzgerald is from Dublin, now living in Glasgow. She has poems in UK, Scottish, Irish and US publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *