in a time like this; a poem.

I close my eyes , and I see the future that has blurred , disintegrated , dissipated into miasmic haze of uncertainty.

Are we guaranteed our tomorrows?

Our desire and dreams invalidated in this moment

Distanced from my fellow beings

Sanitising , sterilising, and afraid of touch

My compassion for the sick at odds with my fear.

This imminent sense of doom

This feeling of a slow tightening noose

Illness , and perhaps death knocking at my doorstep.

I pray for those dying in hundred s, in thousands,

Unable to breathe, helpless, helpless

There is a scream stuck in my throat,

Reverberating inside me, crushing me from within

even if it escaped, Even if I was heard, will it be too late?

There are thousands weeping, crying, beseeching, praying

The world at loss to stop a virion , barely alive

Killing thousands, paralysing millions, the world standing still…

The world holding its collective breath… in terror

Afraid, hoping this too shall pass, just hoping.

The walls of isolation, of quarantine, are they closing in?

The broadcaster screams, Italy is dying , Spain is dying,

It is coming,  it is inevitable, a force unstoppable.

So , I close my eyes, and shut out the future,

I go back to a day years past.

I am in my grandmother’s kitchen, with her.

It is dusk, it is heavy with sighs of the day gone by

the muezzin calls for prayer, crickets screeching outside

the sky is orange, the night not quite there

the night still, yet full of sound

the mangroves, silhouettes against the sky.

it is warm from the wood burning in the stove,

I watch the embers of the coconut shells

stray ashes on the red floor, a pot simmering

I close my eyes, and hold on to this memory,

Of so many years past, of so long ago.

It soothes my apprehensions, comforts me

In that memory, the tomorrows are not a threat,

It is a promise, yet to come.

  • neema.m.ali


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