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Misreading the blueprint

By: Mary Mulholland

About The Poem

I was lucky enough not to have Covid, but was struck by its metaphorical parallel of being in a claustrophobic, obsessive relationship. I did a zoom workshop with Arji Manuelpillai, through the Corn Exchange, in which he had invited an Covid expert to explain the C19 blueprint. I was taken by how beautiful the blueprint illustration she showed us looked. It brought the Bluebeard story to mind. As someone who fits into the category of vulnerable, I would do the ‘two bridges walk’- crossing Chelsea and Albert bridges, which had imposed a one-way-crossing scheme, through Battersea Park and along embankment. I wrote and read a lot. Poetry kept me sane.

The Poem

I’d been so long on my own when we met

it was unexpected. We walked on your beach,

you wrote my name in sand, I was charmed.

You wanted me to be yours, within days moved in,

uninvited. My place in Chelsea now yours. And

at first I thought it was fine. I’d forgotten the rules.

You make your own: cross the bridge the wrong side,

refuse to leave. At home the food’s become tasteless.

You’re taking over everything, including my friends,

shapeshifting like a second shadow. You push me

to the edge of my bed and finish my sentences.

I wonder if you are now appropriating my cells.

Once I found you so attractive you left me

breathless. I think you just hijacked my life.

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