Lucky. A poem by Fran Bardsley

The hour is late.
The work pushes on, relentlessly.
Unwashed laundry surrounds me while
Sleep nudges the corners of my vision,
Whispering of soft (rumpled) covers and blissful oblivion.
My head aches.
I am not yet done.
But still:
I know I am one of the lucky ones.

David is doing sums
Year 5 Maths is harder than he remembered.
They do it differently.
He didn’t count on being a full-time, stay-at-home teacher
On 80 per cent of pay
Doing a job he doesn’t know how to do.
But still: 80 per cent.
The shopping will come and the mortgage will be paid
The hours are long and hard.
But he’s lucky too.

Amy is attempting yoga
Joe Wicks every morning
A new bake each day
(Until she can’t afford any new ingredients)
There’s no money coming in.
Not sure when there will be.
But still:
All that time.
No children to home school.
An eternal lockdown to perfect her downward-facing dog.
She’s lucky too.

Sharon’s shielding.
No-one to squabble with over the remote.
In fact:
No-one to talk to at all
Save the cheery delivery driver who keeps his distance,
Drives away after dropping off the shopping.
But still:
She’s on the vulnerable list.
She’ll be able to get those coveted slots.
So lucky.

Mohammed is meticulous
When he washes his hands before each shift
And every other time in between.
He’s got PPE
And hand sanitiser
His kids get first dibs on key worker school.
Each day he checks his temperature;
Each involuntary cough makes his heart
(Just for a moment).
But still:
He looks at his patient through his mask and goggles.
Mohammed knows he is lucky.

You might not think Jeremy is lucky
He couldn’t tell you himself right now.
The respirator is in the way.
It’s doing its job though.
Jeremy will pull through
He has an ICU bed
A machine to help him breathe
Constant monitoring from skilled doctors and nurses.
He’s getting the best possible care.
Jeremy is lucky.

What of the bed at the end of the corridor
On the way to the mortuary?
Who lies there?
William was not lucky.
He didn’t make it.

The day is not yet done.
Once the last work email is sent
There are worksheets to be printed,
Timetables to puzzle over,
A mountain of housework to catch up on,
A household to feed.
But still:
I am here
And safe.
I am lucky.


A journalist for 10 years, Fran now works in marketing and PR in the education sector and writes as much as she can. Older writings can be found here:

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