By Katia Ariel


Day one:

The First Day

This first day of the month is for solitude


This small paved courtyard, a museum of natural histories —

Archive of hungers fed and ignored,

Sorrows that bloomed beyond our wildest imaginings

Dreams whispered under the washing line

Seeds tucked into soil with a knowing thumb

The children’s trust in all of it


I examine my solitude in its display case

My mother, the art teacher, speaks over my shoulder:

‘Note the transit of light across shadow’


The sandpit belonged to my sister when she was a child

Now she is a mother

Somehow I am always more tired than her

Half the time I have no idea what to tell her

Even though I am exactly a decade older

Even though I have planted and grown these tomatoes

that are taking over the world


Half the time I have no idea what to tell her when she says,

‘How could you possibly know that?’


Day two:

The Tilt

This morning

Here, there and everywhere

We wake to interior bells

Living on borrowed breaths.

But here, there and everywhere, as always,

The moon continues to tilt her head benignly.


She must know how weary we all are

How many of our jewels are squandered to panic.


Or maybe she has no idea,

No persona that’s not our invention.

Maybe she is neither mother nor daughter

Neither jewel nor thief.


Still. What to make of the fact that while we tie laces and sign forms and fret

Like the fast-moving fingers of a violinist, the moon is relentlessly tugging at the lacy hemline

of the shore?

How to respond when she does the same thing over and over and over,

With the maddening repetition of a child,

‘Look, mum, come and look at this!’


And we ignore her like we ignore each other; at our peril and only until we can’t


When we ourselves are mothering and daughtering on the fly

What should we be looking at?

What should we be noticing this morning, while she is noticing us?


Day three:

My Siblings, My Children


If life is a house of time,

Thank god for these building blocks

These weather-resistant frames, wide-eyed windows, porous walls,

surround-sound noise machines


These human tables

Upon which I have rested my crying head, of a dawn

Or an afternoon

These sets of hands, bannisters down the rickety stairwell of adulthood

The fist-bump of seeing each other’s eyes

After a joy or a calamity

Or just across the lawn, reclining

Knowing we are each other’s weight, but also each other’s trampoline

Knowing, that we are only going round once

In this exact configuration



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Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.

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