Pandemic Poem #47 / On The Easing Of Restrictions

It’s been a welcome relief not to wear a mask in the increasingly hot weather, however I can’t help but be governed by my brain. My brain, like all of ours, which has been responding to collective trauma for a while now, finds it hard to think long term. And the fear we had instilled upon us doesn’t simply dissipate with the announcement of easing of restrictions.

On the Easing Of Restrictions
It’s hard to switch it off like that
When our brains been wired for survival for this long
I can’t help but be suspicious
It’s either safe, or it’s not
And just because we can, doesn’t mean we should
Is like a mantra to me now
Helping me to make decisions
About having that party in the park
Or lining up to drop my kid at kinder without wearing my mask
My face feels naked
My soul feels cold and scared
If I go swimming with 50 other people in a public pool
Will it be my fault that we’re locked down again by February?
It’s a trauma response to become narrowly focused on the here and now
And we can’t plan anything
Don’t ask us to decide
When our brains are running on cortisol
So of course when we get the option to stop acting with so much caution
And meet in person
We do it
We want to do it
We need to do it so badly
We need some kind of salve for this collective trauma
But we never stop to think
We literally cannot stop to think
That this freedom might be short-lived
Because to us it’s now or never
It’s fight or flight
And some people are flying to Tassie for Christmas
Or running along St Kilda beach with their buddies
But I’m still inclined to go home and stay there, safe

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