Aaliya Sehar, ‘The Year is 2020’

This next poem looks back on the anguish of the pandemic year that was 2020. It is written by a literature student from India, Aaliya Sehar, who is 22 years old. She writes: “More than the desire to pen down the spontaneous overflow of overbearing emotions, poetry helps me to execute my agonies … I’m a single child of a divorced mother, and since childhood I’ve been blessed with the first hand experiences of loss and alienation. My poems are an echo of my … lack of ability to locate a sense of belonging.I write about raw emotions that touch not just the soul but the body too.”


The Year is 2020

Sailing in a sea of tar

My ship is falling apart

I’m sinking

There’s no way

To the surface.

I’m hung in between

Can’t sink

Can’t crawl up

The tar is cloggy

And meshy

Like my mind

That tells me

About the nature of things

“This too shall pass”

“Better days are coming”

I know they aren’t

Not anywhere near

But what if there’s a submarine?

Oh, please!

The quicksand

That I am stuck in

Is way too heavy

Than all of the iron

In the world.

Somethings are

Just so inconspicuous.

But, I might get

Stranded one day

By the shore or an island

Of this sea of tar

Drenched in black

Smelling gross

My skin would illuminate

With particles

Of the black hole

And I’d be a Goddess

Radiating the abyss

Of the bleak world.

But that’s not what I want to be

I’d rather be a creature

Mystical yet disgusting

Cruel to the eye

And piercing to the soul

And when I’ll collapse

And assassinate my being

I’ll break free of the tar

That sulks deep within my bones

My corpse would be

An effigy

Of mud, tar and despair

Beaming with glorious pride

And Saudade

Then I’d drip down slowly
-begging of you
To burn me down
Like dead pig on a skewer
roast my blood
all black and thick

For, I belong to the tar

-I’m nowhere near.

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