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When lockdown ends for good and all

Author: A C Clarke
Year: Future

I shall open the door to the street not worrying
about wiping the handle, walk down a road full of buggies,
joggers, dog walkers, without criss-crossing
from pavement to pavement in a dance of evasion,
queue at the local supermarket till
six inches away from the person in front,

pay in cash. I will get on a bus, sit next to
whoever I choose, head for the shopping malls
and an afternoon of browse – books, gadgets, birthday cards –
not giving a thought which shops I visit. I’ll press
the buttons at traffic lights with reckless abandon.
I will not wear gloves. The following day

I shall hike to a much-missed highland village
after a two-hour train journey, sit at a table
in the local chippie with a long cool beer
watching a cloud of siskins like giant brimstones
flutter around the feeders in the garden.
At the weekend I’ll meet a friend for coffee

to mull over the gaping hole between
now and the last time that we saw each other.
As for the rest – the old impossible dreams –
the first prize in the Wigtown, the interview
in Charlotte Square, the centre stage at StAnza –
what do they count against the breath of freedom?