Kate Rigby

Dying Incidentally in Lock Down

There were no exceptions.

We had thought to visit a dying man,
a non-infectious, non-contagious,
non-contentious dying man,
swimming up through the oromorph.

They are so old, these friendship ties,
barely frayed. They bind us still,
as his kind soft hands rest on the edge of life.

Touch is forbidden, this much we know –
the inhumanity of it. But we had thought
at least to see him, living, breathing, warm,
still ours, from his own garden,

through his bright window, and to wave,
mouthing, smiling, staying alive.
But even for this we might not go.

There were no exceptions.

Kate Rigby is a part-time poet and part-time historian, living in Manchester, England. Before lockdown she luxuriously divided her time between researching and writing for the National Trust, creating displays in a historic library, and reading and writing poetry. Post-Covid, time for a different life plan?


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