by Juliet Kemp
The late-afternoon sun hovers above the wall as I kneel on the earth, weeding tomatoes. Beyond the wall, yellow-orange light reflects off the clean sharp lines of the apartment blocks. Boxes for safe people, people who are provided for. People who matter. People who I knew, once upon a time. People who could afford the vaccine before the gates closed. The plague’s gone now, but the wall’s still here.
On this side, the wall’s shadow stretches out as the sun sinks, spreading over the crumbling low-rise council blocks that don’t get repaired any more. In between them there are patches of shanty-town on top of the spaces where the army razed houses to the ground.
My garden is on one of those bare patches, next to Mathias’s and my house, which was once in the middle of a row of terraces and is now on the end. Mathias insisted we put a fence up. I planted brambles up against it so it looks less like the barrier it is. It’s not like we don’t share what we grow here, and I understand why Mathias did it. Still feels like a tiny echo of the wall.