Poetry

Footpath rage during lockdown #6

The bicycles have me huddling Mum into the garden to avoid their maskless legitimacy. Keep the rules the man shouts. Mum with her walker on the pavement. Both of us wearing surgical masks correctly. Four children and a man riding on the footpath fast towards us, legitimately. I put up my hand as a stop sign, wave the eldest towards the road. The man shouts, don’t go on the road. I get it. He is afraid for them. I for her. Stupidly, I say they’re not wearing masks. The man yells, they don’t have to. I know this. But in shorthand I am trying to say, if you are maskless, albeit legitimately, keep your distance. Go around. Go around, he tells them and we try to get off the path. Hard with a walker. Keep the rules, he throws back over his shoulder. We move on. Mum tries to distract me with talk of my son. I say they shouldn’t be on the footpath, though of course they can be, legitimately. What I want is a world where the man has taught the children to slow down if they see an elderly person on the path ahead. I think keep the rules means we two women, one past ninety, should not be in their space, legitimately. Mum says, it’s hard for people with children at the moment.

 

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