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Lockdown Isolation

By: Emma Kentish

The Poem

I smell sounds and hear feelings,
When the jogger struggles past.
Rhythmic gasping, slapping soles,
Pavement-sharp shots ring out each morning.

I miss the smell of the working day.
Busy people
Crinkly carbon paper smells in shiny city clothes.

Back in the past when my nose was small
Early morning in the garden
Held rain from the night before.
Or else I’d rise to street sulphur and yellow fog,
Blue fumes of petrol and exhaust,
Tin bin lids teetering,
Stinky peelings, mingled soggy tea leaves.
The dustmen’s lorry sweet and rotten.

Breakfast bacon, toast and coffee
Winds and wafts three flights up to me.
Father’s tobacco and brother’s Brylcreem
Fight the gas from the Ascot that judders.
Wicker matting wheaty and crackly
Hot in the attic under the slates,
Dust and paper singed like ironing.

Down the market, my hand held tight,
Mother’s handbag, lipstick and scent.
Orange pyramids tangy in tissue,
Cidery apples, grapes like wine,
Mud on potatoes fresh from the field.
Blood in the butcher,
Warm bread in the baker,
And last of all
The flower stall.

Mother’s newspaper inky and metal,
Coppers hot in my hand for my sweets.
Sugar clouding from a white paper bag,
You must never eat them in the street.

Now London is silent, heavy with fear,
Just a whiff of Corona is all I can hear.

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