All Together Now

And the police are called to check on Shamila who’s been screaming next door
and we’re now told that maybe masks are a good idea as the government have only been counting the people dying in hospitals as hundreds of self employed are standing in line at the food bank
while the que for Wilko’s is stretching up Mansfield road one woman applies sun
cream to her skin quickly turning strawberry
strawberries and cream are being shared out at a picnic in Vernon park, everyone brought their own sandwiches but no-ones heard of social distancing
sandwiched between concrete and twin toddlers there’s a single mum living on the eight floor who would appreciate some social distancing as Captain Tom clasping his zimmer frame is lapping the 2.5km perimeter of his garden, while bedding plants are being binned in garden nurseries as business turn to compost
and the Olympia Exhibition Centre scheduled on showcasing country houses to wealthy Londoners is now a food parcelling centre, volunteers boxing up meals to anyone who need it
while inboxes are unread invoiced not paid and staff are furloughed, email conversations suspend in air and multi-storey car parks on a week day are empty
as a woman will just have to cope with the bleeding because her hysterectomy operation was cancelled three times due to a lack of beds but the government built 4000 beds at NHS Nightingale in nine days while my friend sends a WhatsApp message asking for prayers for her mum who has contracted the virus
and Toyota stops production, as a middle aged woman in her dressing gown driving an estate car parks on the corner of Alpine Street meets a man with a top knot who opens the passenger door as the newsreader face goes red when he declares black and ethnic minorities are dying fast on the public facing shit paying front line and the government are looking for a brush and some carpet whilst adamant there’s enough PPE while
Captain Tom is on his 95th lap and the runner is trying to reach a the next km faster as the young dad pushing a stroller is hanging onto his phone the only source of adult conversation as his children are finding their reflections in the river fascinating and something bubbles from under the surface while an ambulance sirens it way along the ring road
and the female mallard is leading her eight ducklings up stream one of them caught by the current is lagging behind as it turns midday and the taxi driver with severe chest pains refuses to go to the hospital while I discover a birds carcass in my back garden
and a woman with a curled back and a blue rinse coughs while walking along the river clutching her bag, her dogs lead, her life, as a skunk smoke cloud floats down the street and the top-knot man slams the car door and the virus is understood to target cells through the receptor doorways
and Captain Tom has done another lap but Boris wishes he would just sit the fuck down and stop making a mockery of his government, a child at the picnic spills orange juice down her dress, just after a hospital leaks letters to the BBC saying tomorrow they’ll run out of PPE while the two sons are planning which six members of the family can attend their mums funeral, as the church measures two meters between the chairs,
as the daylight infringes that little bit more into night and forsythia still blooms and we’re told we got another three weeks, at least, and the single mum with twins living on the eighth floor spends most the afternoon crying
while it’s gradually getting warmer, but the police are timing walkers on the park and neighbours are asked to snitch on people they think are selling drugs
just as another staff member at a care home has died and her colleagues are washing out single use masks to wear tomorrow

and no one want to go to the hospital, parents with sick children bandage wounds at home, as kids who get free school meals are now being fed by Dee in the community centre

while a student nurse uses his phone so a husband can FaceTime his wife who is being cared for two floors above in the same hospital to end the their first separation in 64 years and Vanley a volunteer in Derby is a friendly voice at the end of a phone for many Caribbean elderly as I FaceTime my mum so we can eat together and she prays for my friends mum who is now in ICU
the news declares another 890 dead that it could be a year until a vaccine but Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care in Paris says just test the vaccine out in Africa like they tested AIDS vaccines on African prostitutes
and Betty across the road closes her windows as the night crawls close and the air cools while the beds at NHS Nightingale London are filling up and a storm is forecasts from the south east pushing steadily northward and Shamila is still screaming despite the police being there
as the neighbours wind chimes resonate making the day sound like a psychological thriller
© Ioney Smallhorne 2020