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Quarantine Prayer, a Poem by Almond Syiem

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

For the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'.

Quarantine Prayer - Curated Content
Photo by Engin Akyurt ~ Unsplash

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 and true-life short stories in his other blog


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