Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2

Given my already compromised lungs – I have a condition called Sarcoidosis, about which I contributed this to the Irish Times health supplement, – I have now been told to cocoon which raises many issues, some of them comical…


The advisory booklet says,
because my rubbish lungs
and the compromising position
in which my immune system finds itself
put me among those most likely to expire,
my wife and I must, for the duration,
remain at least one metre apart
and I shouldn’t wander
beyond the front garden
except for my weekly safari
to put out the bins.

If she has an itch,
it’s okay for me to scratch
her back with the sweeping brush
without the written permission
of a Garda Sergeant.

But if she kills me
for talking too much, as she likely will,
the Minister for Justice
has signed an order requiring her
to do so with a twenty eight inch shotgun
(with which she will be provided)
or at the very least a regulation length
Samurai sword. It won’t be pretty.
But neither, the booklet assures me, am I.

Meantime, there are other possibilities:
couples such as us
are still legally permitted
to do things to each other
with a Marks & Spencer cotton dishcloth attached
to what looks like a mop handle;
or by making imaginative use
of a retractable ostrich feather duster.

I worry it could lead
in the long run to her coming
at my most vulnerable bits
with the hedge clippers;
and where would I be then?
Though the cat assures me:
I’m there already.

Kevin Higgins


Sponsored Link

19 thoughts on “In It Together

  1. some old queen

    Did no one warn you of the risks of sitting in the arrival lounge of Dublin Airport 3-4 weeks ago Kevin?

    Possibly figure it out for yourself maybe?

  2. GiggidyGoo

    It was funny.
    Why though do you try to pass it off as poetry? It’s not. It’s sentences with the odd carriage return inserted.

  3. Chris

    It sounds like you and your wife,
    Are allergic to your cat.
    Cat dander will cause irritation.
    Not great for your wife’s itching,
    Or a chest condition.
    I’d like a cat but I put my health first,
    So I don’t have one.
    I also would like to go out more,
    but don’t want Covid-19.
    I once hoped to die more than anyone,
    I regret everything now karma chameleon,
    I have a child, I left it safely indoors.

  4. Gabby

    I think these lines about remote back-scratching merit inclusion in a future Oxford Anthology of 21st Century Irish Poetry

    If she has an itch,
    it’s okay for me to scratch
    her back with the sweeping brush
    without the written permission
    of a Garda Sergeant.

  5. millie in quarantine

    I know art is meant to be subjective but this is really, really poor.

    Another alternative, then, from someone who has been cocooning for almost a month now.

    I miss your touch –
    the sticky sweet brush of your hand against mine in the heat of late night,
    the goodnight kiss,
    the casual glance of fingers on cheeks.

    I miss my mother;
    the soft surety of her embrace,
    the comfort of a cup of tea –
    shared confidences over just another drop.

    I miss my life.
    The quiet joy of a solitary walk,
    the bustle of my favourite cafe,
    even the monotony of the weekly shop.

    I miss the countless little freedoms,
    (sweet nostalgia for silly nothings)
    things I thought I’d never miss,
    counting the days, weeks and hours
    til I might be free from this chrysalis.

      1. millie in quarantine

        I did. That’s one from last week.

        I used to write it regularly but fell out of love with it in favour of writing short stories etc. In recent years I’ve come back to it, and particularly during the lockdown it’s been something I’ve been really enjoying.

          1. Paulus

            Hmmm, were you not plighting your troth to Ms Beckam earlier.
            I remember because I offered so advice but we fell foul of whatever censorous BS guardian is on duty today.

          2. Brother Barnabas

            some of her text messages are pure filth – find myself blushing before I even open them

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link