The Best Joke

Have you washed your hands?
she asks as if it is the best joke ever when you have
an obsession, but these no longer exist,

now that Tommy and Les
are gone – and Boyle’s are more an
evisceration of complacency.

I could scrub until my hands are raw
quips the cleaner to his manager, he guffawing
at the platitudes of the poor.

The virus was meant to be the
great leveller, yet playing fields are still mowed
to their inherited perfections,

and getting rid of it
has become the cash-cow for the
already wealthy.

It was always with us, the joke
on most of us, the hand-washing the simplest ruse
to convince us that all was easy,

lying how they were reasonable people:
just as long as those who didn’t really need it
weren’t asking for soap.

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