Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: They Kissed through Masks

Every cough was an embrace.

Every droplet hung in the air like a promise.

Every sneeze pleased their eyes,

the captured mist a gift.


They stood at bus stops and held

gloved hands in the rain. They hugged

under streetlights, their plastic shields

squeaking against each other.


It became a ritual: hand sanitiser

squeezed into waiting palms,

ten fingers rubbed on and around and between

their hands, squelching together

in a cleanliness only

the disinfected could know.


Every surface was wiped.

Every door kicked open.

Every keyboard and mouse drunk

from the fumes that were scrubbed

along each letter and number and button


And in bed, they kissed through masks,

triple layers of cloth now shrouds

to keep them safe,

separate and safe,

silent and safe.

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Luigi Coppola

Luigi Coppola is a teacher, poet, first generation immigrant and avid rum and coke drinker. Shortlisted for Bridport Prizes longlisted for the Ledbury and National Poetry Competitions, publications include Worple Press’ anthology ‘The Tree Line’, Acumen, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Iota, Magma, Rattle and Rialto (www.LuigiCoppolaPoetry.blogspot.co.uk).


A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist