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 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