Underlying Conditions. A poem by Niall McArdle

You tell yourself it’s just the Flu.
You didn’t get the shot and this year’s strain is a fucker.

Your breath is ragged rough,
Sweaty nights and the thermometer under the tongue
Says it’s a hundred and two.

It might just be the Flu.
Not the Spanish one, and not TB
Or something coal-miners used to die of.

Hope it’s the Flu and not the C-word,
The new C-word: the old one’s been retired for a bit.
Stay in bed and read all those glossy mags you keep buying and never open.
Take your medicine: Lemsip, Halls, Cidona that’s flat.

Your fever-dreams are boring.
Going to the pub or the park,
Cans by the canal, shaking people’s hands.
But weird too, last night you dreamt you had
A lovely natter with your neighbour and she’s a weapon.

Avoid the news, don’t look at the figures,
Or look at the numbers for
New Infections and Recovered Cases only.
See how one is down and one is up.

Do you remember when you first got Facebook,
Spent ages looking up your classmates and exes,
Played games with strangers,
Farmville and Scrabble and the other one that was a rip off of Scrabble?

You could poke people, remember that?

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