Poetry – Lockdown Lament – Susmita Bhattacharya

Lockdown Lament

Before all of this
I’d planned on borrowing a book
from the library. A novel I was looking forward
to reading with my mother
– she was coming over from India – 
and we'd spend the next two months
together.
But now I am without that book,
without my mother. 
The days stretch long, and her voice crackles
over poorly connected WhatsApp calls.
She told me yesterday she’d found 
a book with my story in it. She said
she would read it aloud to herself for company. 

That night, I cried for the first time. 

Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian-born writer who first experienced self-isolation while sailing on oil tankers for months at a time. She then had to self-isolate during chemotherapy treatment. This is the third time, and she’s had a lot of time to reflect on all these experiences while sheltering in Winchester.

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