I sharpen my pencil. I begin a new notebook and call it Response. I clamp a brick to my chest. My eyes well up at the sight of empty buses on walks with our dog. I pray in a procession going into M&S. I shop online, purchase: seeds, a bird-feeder, watercolours, books, a solar powered lantern, tea-tree and lavender oils, send them to my parents. I cook batches of food for them to freeze. I make pizza from scratch, including the dough, once. I make an elaborate Indian meal from the Darjeeling Express cook book, the puris puff like my enthusiasm, the coconut rice is fragrant as the lilac growing wild on our lane. I drink wine, sometimes too much. I write and draw. I clap. I write a letter to a Turkish artist imprisoned for her art. I meet people on screen and it is awkward because I can’t stop looking at myself. I make cards. I write weekly to my aunt in a nursing home, not because we are close, but because I feel sorry for her. I make buns for my uncle without knowing I’ve caused a row. I go to the Pharmacy for my son’s meds and break down because it is two weeks now and the controlled drug has not been approved by the GP, who needs to have several conversations with my son’s psychiatrist. I thank the Pharmacist profusely when he sorts it out. I blow up at my son for visiting his friend. I see my husband, feel him less. I see my husband stressed. I walk circuits of the park with one daughter, then another. I visit my hornbeam in a different park. I read To Kill A Mocking Bird, An American Marriage, American Wife, The White Book and poetry, lots of poetry. I watch a sock puppet called Claude recite poetry, beautifully, daily. I mix shades of blue, paint them on cartridge paper and make a blue wall. I visit my parents and on the way back get caught up in a high speed Garda chase on the M1 that is beyond exhilarating. I talk many hours on the phone. I make a mask from a sock, taking instructions from a smiling Dutch woman and say, “hoi, hoi” all day. I attend two funerals but only cry at one. I plant nasturtiums and hang bird feeders full of seeds that only squirrels want to eat. I am interviewed for an online literary festival and tell virtually no-one. I do as little housework as possible. I witness the blur of days; the certainty of night, wrap its torpor, tight, tight, tight around me.
Therese Kieran lives in Belfast. She writes and makes art and has proudly contributed to print journals such as The Honest Ulsterman, Coast to Coast, Iceberg Tales, Paper Clip, Valley Press. A 2020 highlight is her poem in the Poetry Jukebox’s ‘Once Barefoot’ curation, currently available in Paris and Belfast to support climate change.