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Apocalypse Now

I did not imagine that the end of the world

would smell like banana bread,

or that it would bring with it

so many photographs of sourdough.

Back when a duvet was a continental quilt,

and I read teen-tracks by torchlight –

my enduring nightmares

were of the siren at school,

the poisoned water,

the bleeding gums,

my sister in the land.

We feared the mushroom cloud.

I did not expect the pitiless sky

to be this clear and Wedgwood blue.

Jill Paton Walsh taught us

it was a parcel of patterns

brought the plague to Eyam –

not the supermarket deliveries,

the jogger,

the toddler,

the Amazon package

quarantined three days in the garage,

next to the strimmer.

I did not think we would still cut the grass.

I could not imagine all the birds, singing.

By Sarah Ziman


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