(#4 Pharmacie du Cimetière)

Not sure if this is fever
or a late afternoon hangover

The mind sprints
with a thousand limbs
in all directions

As I step out of bed
the smooth wood underfoot
becalms my breath

Crossing the cemetery 
toward the pharmacy
Cherry trees in bloom
I guess this year
there’ll be no hanami parties in Japan

As I cross Rue du Cimetière
a gentleman, probably homeless
walks softly towards me
Monsieur, auriez-vous...
His age, beard, courteous demeanour
remind me of an acquaintance
an anarchist publisher of poetry
but this is totally irrelevant

I shift a little to the right
Point to my nose, throat, nose
Best not to open my mouth
Suggest I’ll be back through my eyes
and keep walking

Now the people scattered along both pavements
hurl sidelong glances
Great indeed
they’ll be keeping their distance
May Bonnevoie not morph
into Malevoie
any time soon


Not even a “Chers clients” at the start
They’ve had it up to here
Twan, don’t touch your face
They must be sick of us by now
Though not literally
I hope

Waiting a few metres outside the door
a fellow Mediterranean comes
reads the sign
stands next to me
a little too close
I shift a little to the right
He follows
maybe to be closer to the door
I take a step back 
He takes another step right
I go diagonal left
He goes diagonal right
We’re circling now
like repelling magnets
almost a dance
La Danse Macabre
à la Pharmacie du Cimetière

Finally in
Jooooo, Moïen bonjour
The pharmacist greets me
with a hand pushing out
Nothing new, come to think of it
They’re never friendly to me in here
but this time it’s not my accent
Oui, Moïen,
des comprimés pour la grippe… 
Fort? Ou normal?
Les forts, on peut les couper en deux?
Oui oui oui
Très bien
Auriez-vous un thermomètre?
He shakes his head with disapproval
at my stupid question
I grab a bag of vitamin bears
I’ll burn them off somehow
with walk or worry

Decision time - cash or card
Don’t want to lean over
I throw a banknote instead
He throws one back
and a couple of coins
I shuffle out slowly
with an instinctive
Merci de cœur
Jesus, I’ve never said that before 
in this store

A quick zip into the supermarket
almost empty now
Need bleach for keys, desk,
mind’s eye

On the curb outside the supermarket
the shabby gentleman emanates
more peace than anyone else
I hand him the €5 note from the pharmacy
Just hope it’s not infected
Hope he has a place to sleep
How apocalyptically shit
that at the worst of times
kindness could be fatal

Cemetery closed now
Walking around it I wonder
what are they doing with the bodies
if there are no funerals
Are they being incinerated
without witness
Can relatives keep the ashes
What will happen to these cherry trees
when they replace the cemetery 
with another block of flats
or centre d’achats

No sign of last night’s cat
Perhaps they let him in again
His two-second rub against my leg
is still fresh

In the letterbox
a large envelope with the slender red lion
Lockdown instructions, no doubt
If they impose a curfew like in Paris
with forms for permission to go out
the only walking
will be desk to bed and back

Back inside, open all windows
before taking the knife
to the envelope
Ah, no, look,
a map! A map 
of this shoe-shaped country
with placenames in Lëtzebuergesch
I ordered this two months ago
Well, very good timing
Ok Lëtzebuerg
Sorry for what I said yesterday
I feel better now

Hot shower, swigs of water
The shivers have gone
Outside the bedroom window
the sunset colours
temper the pink blossom
lining the edge of the cemetery
It’s so breathtaking I could weep
for the third time this week


#timezones #walking #covid19

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