Social Distancing. A poem by Neil Fulwood

Stay two metres apart. That’s six feet
or seventy-two inches, or five hundred and seventy-six
eighths of an inch (all the eighths laid back-
to-back, of course). To help visualise

the appropriate distance, pick one of the following
examples. Stay a car length apart,
or two car lengths if your car is a Smart Car
or several dozen lengths if it’s a toy car.

Stay a small convoy of shopping trolleys apart.
Stay the length of a ping pong table apart
or twice its width or three times its height
if you want to get silly about it. Take the length

of Evel Knievel’s Caesar’s Palace jump
and divide it by twenty-three
because there’s no need to stay that far apart
and we all know how Caesar’s Palace turned out.

Stay apart the reach of an average forklift truck
but don’t try to emulate it
in terms of weight handling. Stay apart
a decently sized Kenneth Koch poem

printed out in 12-point on A4 sheets. Don’t go
running after the A4 sheets when the wind
gusts them huffily about (everyone’s a critic)
or you might pass closer than two metres.

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