by Emily Tucker

It is ten forty two,
on a Monday morning
and I am hiding in a hedge.
Little voices draw closer,
Muffled giggles.
‘Where could she be?
Where’s that horrible duck?’

That’s my cue,
I leap out from my hedge
and give chase with a quack
across the concrete path
dodging a rogue football
and the invisible laser
shot from pointed fingers.

The bell rings
The game’s over.
I stand up straight,
fix my face back from duck
to responsible adult.

These are the pockets of magic
Sprinkled through my day
where we step out of ourselves
And the panic of everything.
Where trying on different lives
is as easy as placing
a plastic crown
on your head
or picking up a stone
and declaring
that in fact,
it’s a diamond.

When my day starts with the muscle memory
of my thumb
opening the news app
to check
what those numbers say
these are the moments
that I cling to the most.

The unbridled joy of
the hiding friends found.
The determination of small hands
to carry huge sticks
through puddles.
Laughing until your sides ache
the first time you hear
a decades old joke.

It is two forty eight,
On a January Sunday.
Zoom meetings for the next week
are already scheduled.
PowerPoints loaded,
2D teaching is ready.

I watch the last of my files
upload onto Teams
and allow myself
a moment of sad.

I think of the weeks
hopefully not too far
in the future,
when I can get back into my hedge
and be the horrible duck
once again.

Audio recording of ‘Plastic Crown’, read by Emily Tucker

Emily Tucker | @happyemily93 | @ectwrites
Emily is a teacher and writer living in North London. She writes poems and recently finished a novel for children. She really misses seeing her friends and going to work. 

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