The Roadmap Ahead

What if I can’t stand the train
without the carriage to myself?
What if I can’t stretch and strain
to reach up to the luggage shelf?

What if all the outside seats
are taken and the queue’s too long?
And I don’t recognise the streets
and can’t see left or right or wrong?

What if I have lost the knack
of getting by in crowded places?
What if I just can’t go back
to seeing scowls and angry faces?

What if I can’t help but stare
at strangers’ lips no longer covered?
What if noses free and bare
shock me like I’ve just discovered

Human features for the first time?
What if though I’ve really tried
I still go out at just the worst time
turn around and run inside?

What if I’ve forgotten how
a conversation’s meant to go?
If I can’t spot the knitted brow,
the gestures I’m supposed to know?

What if I can’t find my mask –
the one I’ve worn for years and years?
What if I’m afraid to ask,
my voicebox torn out by my fears?

What if I weld to the ground,
my legs won’t move, my mouth won’t open?
Or if it does, it makes no sound?
What if all my thoughts are broken?

What if I can’t ever buy
goods from a non-essential shop?
What if when I start to cry
it turns out that I cannot stop?

What if everybody else
is coping fine and doing well?
What if I’m the odd one out
who’s locked down in my private hell?

What if I have missed your touch
so much that I can’t let you go?
What if holding you is such
a high that I can’t face a low?

What if I am like that bird
that’s let out but it doesn’t fly?
What if I don’t say a word
and hope these terrors pass me by?

Download Page Content (.pdf)