Thursday Quarantine – Poetry/Collage Collaboration with Artist Melissa Corbett


Thursday Quarantine by Melissa Corbett

The man glances impassively at no-one
For there is no-one to see
No-one to hear or touch or speak with
He is formidable, resigned
The man keeps to himself
Even his gaze has no object
His costume his cage
High collar pleated ruff sculpted beard high buttons laced shoulders stockings cover shins while heeled shoes conceal feet that can walk nowhere
He is comorbid with containment, comorbid with the crown

The woman dives on air
In her dreams she longs to fly
To stretch and move beyond the walls
To feel the air on skin exposed
To see and hear and reach and join
She longs to dive in headfirst freely longs to plunge in deeply feel the water coolly on her skin that parts the water as resistance gives in
But as she wakes reality does too: the touch of water is forbidden like the touch of friends she cannot embrace
She hovers above the pool but cannot enter it
The proscenium arch separates her from the man
Potential for companionship thwarted by time and place
By invisible threat made visible with death
She is the player and he the audience
But he cannot see her

Thursday Quarantine is based on a digital collage (with the same name) by my friend, artist Melissa Corbett. Melissa has documented her experience of self-isolating while living in Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic in a series of seven collages over a one week period in March. I love Melissa’s collages – they are always somehow humorous while at the same time often dealing with serious and/or political topics. You can read Melissa’s blog post (and see the other six collages) here.

To see more of Melissa’s wonderful website and art, visit

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