Catching Covid, 2 May


Fever, shivering, sore throat – an invasion.
I carefully load drops into the small dimple,
plastic is wasted for each negative rat test,
hoping for a line so I could spring a surprise,
jump Wyn with a kiss and package of hugs.

I’ve seen paintings, but what is the shape
of my heart? How are its canals flowing?
I know these tests are as reliable as my old
Ford Cortina Mk 1 (while trying to avoid
the temptation of nostalgia).

You call me from the bathroom, still no line,
‘light in the sky’, our western edge glows
picking out templates of branches
and tells the time, the flow continues.
We watch, keep our distance, cocooned.

You moved a table from its nest in the TV
area downstairs to between our chairs, facing
the forest and the speakers. You start laughing,
it’s only taken twelve years. We are hopeless,
I say, but must be good at something. Love?

I am shivering, feel hot, am splashing water
onto my face, find the thermometer we have
used once in years. It’s a degree above normal.
We will have to postpone an appointment
we have just made to make our wills.

A straight board of blue cloud fences the horizon
keeping the darker sea from the pink of heaven
which the two Galahs gliding by borrow.
What’s missing? The Grey-headed Flying-fox,
the Greater Glider, the Koala from five years ago.

Twelve hours ago, I watched Venus and Jupiter
part company, nomads at heart. The sky, sea,
forest, garden and the house, all squeeze into
home, each deserve a hymn, a song of praise
and my love, never to be taken for granted.

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