Two Metres Apart

By Sarah Wragg

They say without my fatal breath,
they’d all have lived…

which is why none of them will let me rest.

The feeble old man who slowed me down,
insisting it was not my time to shop.
The stupid cow who told my son to stand away –
“He’s only three,” I’d said. “He doesn’t understand!”
The man who stood nonplussed with rage
because I would not move to let him safely pass.
The boo hoo nurse I beat to the last can of beans;
she should have stocked her cupboards in advance.
Like me.
But still I joined the weekly cheers,
banging saucepan lids to prove I cared much more
than those who merely clapped.

They crowd me claustrophobically,
assail my ears with angry croaking whispers,
choking coughs from tortured, drowning lungs,
and the remorseless rhythmic beeps and shrill alarms –
companions of their final mortal days.

Destroyed by invisible foes
I can’t sleep, I can’t rest, I can’t think,
I can barely even breathe…

If only they would keep their distance.

Two Metres Apart was inspired by my dismay and anger at the extraordinary selfishness that Covid-19 brought out in some people. I was furloughed which gave me time to be able to write and refine my poetry. It has also enabled me to join many more open mic nights than I’d normally be able to; with Zoom, geographical distance is no longer a problem, and this has helped encourage me to write much more.

Sarah Wragg Poetry and Covid - Two Metres Apart

Sarah Wragg’s poems have been published in anthologies by Beautiful Dragons Press and Indigo Dreams. Her first solo collection, Ghost Walk, will shortly be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press

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Oz Hardwick
3 years ago

This really channels the anger and frustration, with an excellent final line.

Kat Armstrong
Kat Armstrong
3 years ago

This sad, angry poem captures an aspect of the crisis we don’t want to think about – how selfish some of us are, and intolerant. And how much we like to kid ourselves we’re not …

Bev Morris
Bev Morris
3 years ago

Great poem – so apt and so true. I love the phrase, ‘The boo hoo nurse…’ and the hypocrisy of joining in with the clap. This really captures the contradictions of our society and the consequences for selfish acts.

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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