Merchantgate Bus Stop by Cristina Rizzo

A poetic dance through York: located around Merchantgate bus stop on three different dates showing us three very different faces. We’ve all been changed, in some ways, by lockdown – Cristina Rizzo magnificently shows us we’re not the only ones to take our masks off and find ourselves… different.

One glove impaled on the railing behind the bus stop bench. It sits there like a decapitated head, waiting for the 66. Its index raised under the railing nipple, as if to point up at something that’s already left. I sit on the bench in front of it. A girl, oily hair pulled into a ponytail. She sits on the bench to my left- at the very far end of it. A student. I know because of the way she looks at her phone and taps her leg and because she’s wearing flower Vans.

Our Streets Unmasked commissioned seven stories in three parts, asking young and emerging writers to write pieces that reflected the changing faces, real and imagined, of the places we live as they took off their masks and woke from their lockdown slumber. Notebook in hand, writers visited their chosen location on three dates to gather inspiration for their three-part story conjuring often surreal and magical changes within them. All commissioned writers received advice, editorial guidance and a small fee. More about Our Streets Unmasked here.