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2 quarantine poems by Barkha Shah

Photo by Josef Sudek

The Summer of 2020

This isn't our regular summer.

The air is cleaner,

But it reeks of fear.

The sun's shining bright,

But clouds loom large.

The streets are empty,

And the doors are closed.

Loved ones are near,

But greetings are from afar.

This isn't our regular summer.

Locked down and isolated,

Is the whole world now.

Longing and belonging

Have new meanings somehow.

For a few, money is in the banks

But there's nowhere to shop.

For others, the next meal itself

Is relying on hope.

This isn't our regular summer.

Schools are closed

But lessons are being learnt.

In kindness and gratitude,

Selflessness and minimalism.

We're touching each other's lives,

Without touching each other.

We're learning about survival,

And making it through with little.

This isn't our regular summer.

The walking stick

I looked at him

But not into his eyes.

Didn't say a hello,

Nor waved a goodbye.

I thought for a brief moment

If I should stop and check

If he was doing alright

And if his supplies were being met.

But I feared the virus

I didn't want to take a risk.

And so, I just smiled

And left the words amiss.

He trudged along

With his sole friend.

The stick that supported

As he turned the bend.

His eyes seemed moist,

The world seemed cold.

I'm sure he wondered,

If the virus had eaten our souls.

For it had been a while

Since he had blessed a child,

Since he had shaken a hand

Or laughed out wild.

Voices seemed distant

Over the phone.

The house was empty

The heart felt lone.

The virus didn't kill.

The emptiness did.

The walks in the park

With only a walking stick.

Barkha Shah is a Bangalore-based freelance writer and digital marketing consultant. You can find some of her published work here -


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