Day 15

30 Days Of Art With NAC: Going Round In Circuits by Jennifer Anne Champion

To inspire and uplift readers as the country emerges from the Covid-19 circuit breaker, The Straits Times, supported by the National Arts Council as part of the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, has commissioned 30 works by local writers and artists on the pandemic and what it will be like when all this is over

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

When friends and lovers meet unmasked in the street,

a spectre slips its hand between hands held till it's over.

Old men congregate at round tables once more.

Between sips of beer, counting who is still here. Over

WhatsApp and group chats, advice pours like blessing.

Fear doesn't blow over until it's all over.

Coated in regards, we return to the grind.

If there even is a grind to tide us over.

Us and our flood. A recurring pandemic.

The otters and the birds and the fish know it's over.

She won't want to say they asked overtime of her.

It's great that her Sundays off at home are now over.

He'll still be isolated from the country he built.

The poet inside him, welding words over and over.

When we ask if happy-ever-after really has resumed,

we discover none of it's over until it's all over.

• Jennifer Anne Champion, 32, has published two poetry chapbooks, A History Of Clocks (2015) and Caterwaul (2016). During the circuit breaker period, she, her sisters and their cat would snuggle up in their parents' bed and read fairy tales out loud.

• To read the other works in this series online, go to str.sg/30Days. To listen to them in a podcast, go to str.sg/JW2f

• For more local digital arts offerings, go to a-list.sg to appreciate #SGCultureAnywhere

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2020, with the headline 'Going Round In Circuits by Jennifer Anne Champion'. Print Edition | Subscribe