Virus

    by Adil Jussawalla

    Silent with beings we’re meant to follow,
    on occasion asking a question,
    looking up and about on mattress or mat,
    footwear shucked off,
    are conventions that mean keeping a distance,
    not touching,
    like prayers to those we were asked to plague
    when in trouble, which we did and may still do
    like many, like me, when affronted by death.

    But if, in time,
    we’ve come to believe they are in the mind,
    those beings, the wounds they staunch without touching,
    the fear, too, of dying in bits of ourselves,
    in a litter of unanswered questions,
    we may still have in mind what we carried from them,
    those beings once believed in, and which,
    though at a distance,
    in momentary lapses of reason,
    through hoops of unquenchable fire,
    we leaped to and clasped to our hearts.

    **

    Treasure the corona you’ve made of contagion –
    their kisses, their touch, if that’s what you’ve done.
    It could be a word – one, just one:
    ‘forgiveness’, ‘compassion’,
    the crown we were not meant to wear alone
    but pass from person to person.

    Adil Jussawalla was born in Bombay in 1940. He is the author of six books of poems and Gulestan, a chapbook.. His third book, Trying to Say Goodbye(2011), was honoured with a Sahitya Akademi award in 2014. He was Tata Literature Live’s poet laureate for 2021. He lives in Bombay.

    Subscribe to our newsletter To Recieve Updates

      The Latest
      • The Usawa Newsletter June ‘24

        There are no chairs for audience in the court room You sit on the window sill

      • Test
      • Navigating Appetites, Feminism, Loneliness, & Murder

        Butter is the first of the books by prolific Japanese writer Asako Yuzuki, to be

      • Food That Becomes Something More – Aditi Yadav Reviews The Kamogawa Food Detectives

        In his magnum opus, The Physiology of Taste, published in December 1825, just

      You May Also Like
      • The City has No Face By Neeti Singh

        There is smoke everywhere, dust pollutes the air – discrete columns of gaseous

      • Kindness and Other Poems By Nithya Mariam John

        a silent lizard flicks its tail, patient companion as I sit staring at the fan

      • September by Maw Min Thann

        City gates are shut The thoroughfares are quiet The pandemic threatens