a year after the funerals my brother found them preserved on Google Earth unaware they were photographed by a satellite somewhere in space on their daily walk together to the local shop Mum holding a reusable Aldi carrier bag Dad reluctantly using a wooden walking stick both gray haired with dodgy knees no idea what was lurking around the corner blissful ignorance because it was the before time
before the stroke before the triple cancer before the hospitalizations before the agonies before the slow deaths before the unbearable grief
& we continue sleepwalking through life / every minute of every day a before time / not knowing when it will happen / all the awful stuff / or how it will happen / will it creep up / or be sudden / out of the blue?
& we live in a permanent state of exhausting anxiety / not knowing / a stressful way to live / it’s just that most of us pretend / most of the time / because if you didn’t you’d go crazy / but there are those of us who can’t pretend or forget / it’s there always / the before time / at the back of our minds / constantly reminding us of our fragility / the tenuous grasp on life / going about our daily business until
UK based neurodivergent writer Jane Ayres completed a Creative Writing MA at the University of Kent in 2019 aged 57. She enjoys Open Mic events, is fascinated by hybrid poetry/prose experimental forms and has work in Postscript, Dissonance, Ink Drinkers Poetry, Not Deer Magazine, Lighthouse, Viscaria, The Sock Drawer, Streetcake, The North, The Poetry Village, Door is a Jar, Marble, Agapanthus, Kissing Dynamite, and The Forge.