Four closed walls, shut me in.
The blue paint ripples under my touch.
I keep a door ajar, let the noises filter in,
But my white ceiling still keeps caving in.
Every morning, I stand tall on my toes,
Stretching out with my bare finger tips,
Taking notes, measuring the distance,
Between my head and that roof above us.
In the evening, my cat returns, purring softly,
Before she perches on top of the window sill,
Slipping past me, her tail wraps around my leg,
Outside, the yellow street lights flicker awake.
I wait for the phone to ring just then,
They will call they had said, at 7pm.
The clock beside my table reads 6:54,
I count the seconds, any moment now, I know.
At night, the bed gets hot, the tiles remain cold,
I roll over to the side and press my ears on the floor.
Noises of people sleeping, murmuring, echoes.
Tossing ans turning, they finally lull me to sleep.
The next day again, I stretch my hands.
Overhead the roof seems to have shifted,
One feet closer, I firmly place my palms,
Pushing it as far high as I can, though in vain.
My cat seems to have abandoned me,
No more I hear those faint scratches,
The window stays locked all the days.
I’m running out of maggi and milk again.
Going out is out of the question,
As the walls draw in when I leave the room,
Staring blankly at the computer screen,
I watch fantasy shows while day dreaming.
Sometimes, I fall asleep unaware,
Wake up in the middle of the night,
Confused what date or day of the week it be,
Sleeping sure comes now more naturally.
Three months I stayed, isolated alone.
With spiders and ants for companions.
I named them Henry the V, and Levi Strauss.
Waiting diligently only for that 7 pm calls.
Storms came and the trees fell down,
Billboards and banners were flying about,
Nature enraged, scowled down at Earth,
The fury of her wrath, left us stranded in the dark.
Surviving on bits of crumbs of bread,
I sat there holding my little ukulele,
Even as the winds howled outdoors,
That tiny thing in my lap comforted me.
Melodious tunes, rang out loud and clear.
My fingers trembling kept strumming along.
I knew not the notes or the chords to the song,
Yet from memories strange, it guided my soul.
I forgot since when I had stopped noting,
The room had shrunk to the size of a closet,
Barely fitting, curled inside it, I remained.
Closing my eyes, I could picture the green hills.
Days to weeks, and soon it was three months,
In total seclusion, how terrifying it was.
Until finally the box fell apart from inside.
Sunlight leaked in through the cracks.
And once again, I could stand up tall.
Once again, I felt the breeze in my hair.
I saw the familiar faces of my Ma and Baba,
And I knew my struggle had come to an end.
This poem was first published in The Times of Corona on August 11, 2020.