MD Kerr


Free verse

Text of the poem

Prowling around the edges
(Four kilograms of cabbage at risk! quick! sauerkraut!)
and down the centre of empty unseen streets
(Hereís a Zoom lesson! Auntie, look at the bottom leftÖ)
and circling a small lamplit roundabout
(Letís catch up on Call the Midwife, thatís nice)

hiding behind my cousin-in-lawís baggy smile
(You nurses know how to party! I love the drunk-gardener vids!)
and my military cousinís tidy tired rictus
(Iíve written poem prompts! Loads of them! Here you go!)
and within the sterile rectangle of four sterile floors
(Look how far we can see, now the cars have stopped!)


Today itís important to save food.
Today itís important to support isolated relatives.
Today itís important to stay calm.
Today itís important to keep you company.
Today itís important to keep you calm.
Today itís


A man in the local Facebook group is sharing manholes.
One a day, every day. All different.
We all (recent experts in stats, graphs, masks, and yeast)
have become very interested in manholes.
Weíve started to ask knowledgeable questions.
One person recognises the foundry where her father worked.
Another has made his speciality the accompanying shoe.

Give us today our daily manhole
and our hourís mandated exercise,
sharing the photos of todayís spring blossoms
and liking the photos shared with us.
Let us not scream as the silence between birdsong sinks
and let us not think


Thereís no more cabbage to prep,
only sauerkraut and bewilderment
at how to find bratwurst.

In my mind, all the manholes are ajar.
(But they have keyholes Ė see? There.
Thatís how you lock them.)

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