Poetry: Sushma Malhotra

Sushma Malhotra
Dared to Walk in my Neighborhood During Covid-19

Stepped out and noticed every block desolate and bare
May be a dog walker stooping down while walking
Hardly anyone strolling outside for fresh air,
Walking with a distance covering their face with a mask
Knowing that coming closer to anyone was unfair.
Colden Street Auditorium deserted and renounced
Threshold waiting for footsteps of graduating students
Usually wearing colorful gowns, giggled and bounced,
Vendors selling balloons, flowers, and mementos
Parents were overjoyed when their kids' names were pronounced.
Both parking lots locked and meticulously secured
No security on job for no vehicles parked
Observe for pigeons and crows freely perched,
No human intrusion or interaction whatsoever
What an emptiness and quietness to be endured.
Queens College track brightly lit under the daylight
Neat and clean waiting to be trodden by the runners
My heart pumped faster, held my tears back very tight,
Lips trembled, hands clenched and throat throttled
I wished to bring life and uproar here now outright.

Your Reflections

I remember you a lot
I miss you too
I want to see you, feel and touch you
In my backyard and in the front.
when I look at the flowers
I see your image
every petal smiling like you
though hiding and in distance
it feels like you came and touched them
you added your beauty and elegance.
I feel like planting some flowers inside the house
as you come to touch the flowers
immediately lock
the door
and lock you in those petals
forever and forever.

Let us Join our Heart and Soul
To Light a Candle of Hope and Blessings

When we all landed here
Who embraced us
Who opened its doors
Who fed the hungry
Who gave us work to earn
and support our loved ones?
It’s this motherland
We immigrated to
This is where our children
Went to school
Where they earned
Degrees and diplomas
and became professionals.
We left behind
Our own motherland
To seek opportunities
for jobs and business.
Let us join our heart and soul with gratitude
Light a candle of Hope and Blessings.
Now this Motherland
Who adopted us is unwell
Struggling to save
Its children, our children
Born here or immigrated.
Lamenting to protect
its frontline workers
of any color or race
in blue, white and grey uniforms.
To exhibit our support
To cheer her up
Let us join our heart and soul to strengthen
Light a candle of Hope and Blessings.
To uplift the spirit of the
Statue representing Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Who embraced us all
around its own pedestal.
Now jinxed and wounded
By some perilous black spirits
Hovering in all New York counties
And perched in the rest of the State.
Need some positive energy
For all to come out of the pandemic
Let us join heart and soul to heal all
Light a candle with Hope and Blessings.

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