PALE GYMKHANAE

The pale rider saunters into the car park at Tesco’s.
She fiddles with her pearls as she observes the obedient socially distanced queue who, in turn, wait patiently to purchase their fuel for the future.
The rider hides her identity behind a cloak of invisibility, dismounts from her temporary steed, and slides microscopically along the line in search of a new carrier.
Most of the people deny her entrance because they have taken the precaution to bar the way with masks and bandanas, but there, almost at the front of the queue, stands a non-conformist.
Unmasked, proud of the T Shirt he wears with the slogan Masks Off, Let’s Be Real emblazoned across his chest.
The rider does not hesitate, she wraps her wispy tentacles around his head and pulls herself sinuously into his sinus cavity and awaits his next breath to carry her deep into his unsuspecting lungs.
He remains haughty and unaware that he’s been chosen.
Inside his lungs the rider leaves some seeds and then departs on the next exhalation from which she floats languorously back to her invisible charger.
She remounts and they slowly trot past the front of store security guard and amble by the table with the hand sanitiser dispenser and paper towels, on into the fruit and vegetable section.
She rides up and down the aisles, she deliberately follows the red arrows marked out on the floor, and, once, spurs her mount to leap over the shelves straight into the midst of a family group as they gently argue about ice cream flavours.
More seeds are sown and eventually the rider leaves for pastures new.
She spurs her invisible horse down to Aldi.
Another hotspot, more human receptacles, the breeding goes on.
Meanwhile other riders await starter’s orders in a variety of situations.
Waves lap gently, waiting for the inevitable rollers to break on winter shores.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 27th August 2020.