This month, Holly Peters Mayflower 400 Young City Laureate contemplates the ghosts of bygone months from a strange and utterly different year.
August: Looking back – time a fragmented puzzle,
racing but trundling, fast then slow
. Not as we have known,
close and then far and then close again…
The ghost of May: I feel it as I walk on the flat stretch of road along from the corner store and past the playing green.
Only a hill away from the house.
The soles of my trainers know the path well,
the imprint of the pavement impressed upon them.
The skidding of the skateboard scratching wood against the solid curb.
The rumble of a car engine roads and roads away.
The ghost of March: As I scour the supermarket looking for this or that, I feel it. Skeletal shelves ransacked; emptied pockets. Apocalyptic. Unprecedented.
The taste of panic right there in the air.
The tools for banana bread and the secrets of whipped iced coffee.
Hiding towers of toilet paper – a shadow. Just in case…
August: Filling flavours of fried rice, sizzling steak,
bursting burgers, clinking cocktails.
Plates stacked. Temperature tested at the door.
Tables pushed to the edge: stay seated.
Spots of queues spilling onto the street.
New rule books written.
The exits are here, here and here.
Are we really helping out?
The ghost of July: I see it as the sun begins
to peel itself away from behind the floury clouds.
That week of sunshine, bubbles fizzing in glasses and feet dipped in shallow water.
Our sun-kissed skin a map of the days when the summer came to play.
The ghost of April: I’m reminded of it at my desk by an old to-do list.
White paper folded into a mountain of goals to swallow up all that spare time.
Achieved only in forgetting.
Now hidden behind crowds of open letters and ink stained post-it notes.
The ghost of June: I hear it lifting – the creaking barriers of closed car parks and the squealing shutters of sleeping stores.
Blowing the dust away.
Eyelids peeling open after hibernating for so long,
wincing as the piercing light pokes its head around.
August: Passing through me as a cold breeze.
The sun of September rising and the ghost of yesterday already feels forgotten slipping away into the softly swaying seas.
This entry is an extension of collaborative commission by Plymouth Culture and Literature Works. It has been reproduced from the original, posted here.