Love in the Times of Covid


15th July, 2020
The phone beeps for the seventh time in a row. The coffee on my bedside table has turned cold. The sunlight creeps in from the parted crimson curtains, your silhouette creaking from the walls of the next room; both falling on the newspaper folds. The white floral bed sheet still smells of you. 

I draw the unlock pattern on the phone screen; the dots and the lines turn red. Old habits die hard.

5th August, 2020
You tie the dhaaga on the Dargah‘s doorknob. I make sure the knot is tight so you don’t lose your grip on life. You ask me the meaning of the soulful verses carved in Arabic on the walls. I read the calligraphy connecting Alif, Zabar, and Nokhta; the way you decipher the meaning of life through a simple mathematical equation. Tesla over Einstein, your theory. The coming days witness my hands soaked in tears as you steadily become the prayers between my palms.

30th August, 2020
Three weeks and we walk past through the lanes of Agra, the ones ending near the Taj to be precise. The small distance has left you breathless. We have walked miles in the past together. The gentle brushing of your hands against mine; already a conversation in every alphabet. A bloom of hibiscus in your freckled cheeks adds a crimson tint, the upper epidermis of your skin has turned to pale yellow from its initial brown. 

You admire the white marbles, their finesse and architecture; I look for Mehtab Bagh, tombs and deaths.

15th September, 2020
I steal your Khaled Hosseini book from the upper shelf, you say art liberates. From Husseini to Hossain, you had it all arranged. We see your last year’s photograph from Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. The photos aren’t clear. The brightness in it is low, as low as the RBC count in your blood vessels. You tell me reading strengthens brain cells; will hiding case reports do the same?

6th April, 2021
It’s been three months since I last felt your breath. I am reading the obituary. Lockdown has been harsh and so has separation. The unlock pattern on my phone had been the initials of your name until you changed it. 

I take Hosseini out and read the prologue. Taste the first sip of masala chai. The phone beeps, I answer. I get the pattern right this time.

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N Sehar

Sehar is a poet, student and avid reader. Currently based in Kolkata, India, her poems have appeared in the Remington Review, LiveWire, The Alipore Post, Kommuneity and Poems India. She finds poetry a medium to express herself, to view the world through a different lens, and make better sense of it.


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