Postcards From Malthusia DAY SEVENTY-NINE: Fiona Moore

On COVID Street 

Boris Johnson is reported to have used the phrase “move on” 5 times in 20 minutes in his appearance before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 27 May 


It’s getting late on COVID Street 
don’t linger, move on.
This isn’t a dream.
Pass your own shock by
on the other side
and move on.
Two terraces stretch in parallel rows
on COVID Street
here children live in a house of blows
with nowhere to hide
and there an old man who’s on his own 
no light in the window
nobody knows
walk past, move on.

Here’s a grid of faces, black, white and brown
some in nurses’ uniform 
hopscotch through them heel & toe
smudge the chalk
and walk on.
Turn your head away from the death of surprise
the death of rage, of disbelief 
those huddled heaps
just leave them behind
on COVID Street.
Be a good citizen 
move on.

Move on when you pass yourself alone
in the cemetery on COVID Street 
leave your sorrow weeping down a stone.
Move on 
walk fast when wind in the branches sighs
like your mother’s voice on a failing phone  
no PPE in her care home
her last time. 
Move on.
Just accept your grief’s
in the past now, it’s been four weeks
and move on.

It’s darkening now in the gaslight zone  
on COVID Street    
adjust your vision 
get on with it
move on
around the bend
into the street of the rest of your life.
Twilight comes before a new dawn.
Leave it all behind  
and move on.

Fiona Moore‘s first collection The Distal Point (HappenStance) was shortlisted for the 2019 TS Eliot and Seamus Heaney prizes.  She is on Magma‘s editorial board.  She has been living in the Western Isles since last autumn.


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