Corona Diaries: papered memories

Image © Clare Roche 2020

by Clare Roche June 9, 2020

1980. fancy dress day. mum forgets, absent with her crowd of children, weaving in and out of legs and doors. calm inventiveness finds a blue white patterned packet of toilet paper rolls. endless winding, tugging, looping arms legs torso. humiliated, a stiff not-so-scary-Mummy.

1976-1982. wheels roll off bitumen onto gravel shoulders. piling out of back doors to stretch bodies, scratched legs walk into scrub. the tree, the shrub, the rock, the cover only needs to hide a squatting child. hot pee hits dirt, a single square of toilet paper sticks wet to earth.

1998. millions of foreign feet pound cobblestone, neck craning columns height of empire, poppies sway in spring grass. relief is finally found. two cubicles, no seat, no door lock, no toilet paper. urbs aeterna.

1995-2019. waves of music swell through walls of graffiti-soaked pubs. i reach low and under for toilet paper from next door stalls. i call out for sisterhood solidarity. i learn the term drip dry.

2020. the world’s population succumbs to acartohygieophobia, symptoms range from mild to violent shoving in the toilet roll isle. i’m keeping my eye on the rice.
Clare Roche is a writer and social worker based in Sydney. Her poetry can be found in UK publication Dwell Time. She is on the editorial board of the new Australian online literary journal Authora Australis which can be found at

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