Published on 30 - 06 - 2020

Transmission was first published in Poetry in Public

It is a deeply personal poem, made doubly special by the fact that it was my first published work as an adult writer

We have left each other
With far more than two metres of space
Tethered together only by the transmission
Of a stream of lonely bytes
And this is the most distant we have been
Floating in an air-gapped embrace

I have left you
Anxious to get back home
To be cooked for and enveloped, but knowing
How it would crush you to do the same
And this is the most broken you have been
Anxious to not be alone
But I can still see you
From this great distance; like a beam of light
Striking a mirror on the moon
My symptoms are beamed up, reflected
And projected onto you

I have seen this before
And, in the midst of this crisis, I have seen it in you
You have contracted this great, shared pain
Transmitted in droplets between those we love
Leaving you broken, bedridden; it comes in waves
And, in our efforts to isolate, it has washed over you
You are far away, and plummeting
Depression is contagious, too

Separate, we are spiralling
Not close enough to grasp your hands
And pull; some days, these fumbled efforts
Just send you spinning further
And I know I cannot catch you like you did for me
When I was at my worst; how you scooped me up
And shook me, guiding me back to you
I want to show you how I fought this, over time
But this is not my race; I must let you run it
And I’ll stand waiting behind ribbons
To hold you when you cross the line