The quiet of the quarantined streets,
cars holding their breath,
the trees rustling in a breeze
made loud by absence.
No children on the swings,
just an old man walking his dog
past the closed shops. Their shutters
sighing with surprise. Even the hospital
is silent. One nurse with sanitiser
and a mask. A small nervous room,
a door where no one can be sure
they will come back. The doctor
in his blue apron, medieval
in his breathing. How fragile
this world we thought we knew,
how paper thin our history,
our technology, our security.
How much closer we are
to cholera, tuberculosis,
those old names we thought
we’d left behind. How much closer
we are to the truth of ourselves.
By Aoife Mannix