Captivity Etc. by Rodney Wood
We’re in our drawing room with the door open to a wall
where ivy and a rose grow, rustling in the breeze as if
shaking off the past. We’re barely talking to each other
and are frustrated because we can’t leave the house
to commune with whomever or join the chaos of the living.
One of the girls has a fever but there's nothing unusual
in that. We have enough cans to see us through and there’s
a turkey in the freezer. I would like to say of an evening
we sit round listening to the piano and cello but we watch
Netflix which can be inspiring as a breath or swathes of indigo
or dignified as a dark suit with white shirt and gold cufflinks
and offers escape from our routine like a dress made from silk,
ruffs and overflowing with lace bows. Not much in the paper today.
More money collected for the NHS. Government failings
to test at airports or provide nurses with enough protective
equipment on their shifts or let us know how long this forgettable
lockdown will last. “Set my people free with extra fries”, says Trump.
People are dying especially the non-white, the old and those
who disappear into care homes. I thought about painting the kitchen
but I can’t get the right colour paint. I thought about writing
but can’t get started as my head is filled with chocolate and honey
instead of something lighter and more joined up but words
have been hijacked. You must have felt like that, a river flowing
to the sea only it’s crowded with punts, water taxis,
ferries and so on and you can’t get across. Even the tunnel is closed.
On the settee my eldest daughter is being shown by my wife
how to darn a sheet. She holds it in a heavy metal two finger gesture,
sign of the horns, she’s wild as a grey morning. My son looks at
old photographs and the others are on the carpet playing
with the baby, who looks at me as he would a stranger.
We’re yawning towards eternity. I don’t know what needs
to change for the world to make sense over again.
Rodney Wood comes from England. His poems have appeared recently in Atrium, The High Window, Orbis, Magma (where he was Selected Poet in the deaf issue) and Envoi. His debut pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice, appeared in 2017.
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