Quarantine Prayer

Updated: Sep 1

Written by Almond Syiem for the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'.

for them counting breaths in strange seclusion, in complex friendship with oxygenating machines


for family denied intimacy in loss, the final goodbye through digital noise


for the walking tragedies of national infrastructure they built, dragging, collapsing, dying to get home, dying on the way home


to them who will share graves in the overcrowded cemeteries of Manaus


to them drawing tears on the map from Bogotá to Venezuela


while my coffee brews


for them lamenting an unforeseen stigma and loss while we legalise our opinions on the courthouse of social space


to them exposed for their frontline love


to paradoxical leaders caught in flawed imagination between saving power and saving lives


and not forgetting


the forever quarantined prisoners of North Korean horror


detainees of re-education in northwest China


kidnapped girls auctioned in the grotesque markets of pleasure


my unequal nation I love and loathe between habitual bouts of middle-class apathy




Almond Syiem is from Shillong in Northeast India. He writes poetry, songs, short stories, and reflections on themes related to politics, justice, reconciliation, relationships, and Christian spirituality among others. His poems have appeared in publications such as Indian Literature, The New Welsh Review, Artem, and some anthologies. He has also published two collaborative works, a poetry-photography e-book with Australian photographer Timothy Wallis (Sleepless, 2014) and a poetry-sketch work in e-book and hardback versions with Australian sketch artist George Tetlow (2016). He shares some of his poems in his blog www.poeticlogik.wordpress.com and true-life short stories in his other blog www.storythejourney.wordpress.com

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