taking a train in the time of covid-19

Paddington station is as empty as midnight
after the last train’s pulled in,
and they’ve already shut the McDonald’s.

Yet right now there’s only uniform blue above,
mirrored in the masks of travellers below –
rectangles of sky laid delicately across lips.

I’d call the train to Stonehouse ecclesiastical,
Pick a pew, sit and here be repentant,
Silence’s so easy when everyone’s repugnant.

Little need now to warily eye the reservation sign,
then flit fitful glances to the door, shortly
expecting an indignant owner to cut you adrift

– into the clumped football-shirts with tin hands,
bothered by the beats of eremites’ AirPods,
confined to stuttered stands in knotted corridors.

No, in covid time you hold your peace in peace,
just remember your face covering,
and ignore the people who wait in empty seats.

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