Things I Noticed While in Quarantine

Enya Goonetilleke

Enya Goonetilleke

My kind desk is tired from years of use,
Spotted with rings, dark as poppy petals,
From ancient cups of tea,
Which dance with black ink-dots 
And smudges of paint. 
My desk was once beautiful,
But I wore it away, bit by bit.
Until it was no longer.
But even in my desk’s old age, she adores me so.
And creaks happily when I sit by her. 

The dregs of a teacup are a sad sight,
Black and brown specks clump into shapes
Like the grotesque masks of a demon. 
Faint black stripes paint the cup’s interior,
They become the bars of an unforgiving, porcelain cage. 

Creatures fear quiet.
Whenever the playing children in the street fall silent,
Or the roaring cars reach their destination,
And noiselessness emerges for a moment,
Suddenly, a bird recites a tune it has learned.
Or a dog barks at an imaginary cat.
We tire ourselves out, laughing and talking and singing,
To drown out the silence
To drown out the savage voices in our heads. 

When you live in isolation
And your days are quiet and solemn,
The world feels different.
The motherly desk, the morose teacups, the frightening silence, 
They are not objects,
But are the cells in your body.
The shards of glass in your mirror.




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