Covid-19 Colours. A Poem by Reshma Ruia

In Bombay the hawker stands
in the green gloom of the Thespesia tree
To his left stretches the indigo bay
of the Arabian Sea
The white Hanuman temple crouches to his right
Empty but for an old woman in a mud coloured sari
moaning in pain
The afternoon is yellow like an over ripe banana
Black crows sit dazed on the temple steps
pecking their own feathered skin
‘Covid-19?’ The hawker repeats
eyes round in confusion
‘Yes I heard about it on the radio’
His forehead wrinkles Mouth droops down
He points to the mustard straw basket at his feet
There are plantains pineapples A papaya or two
‘Who will buy these? I have kids to feed’
He looks up and down the empty streets
‘Is it better to die of hunger or Covid-19?’




Reshma Ruia is a published author. She has written two novels Something Black in the Lentil Soup . and A Mouthful of Silence, which was shortlisted for the 2014 SI Leeds literary Prize. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in various international journals and anthologies and been commissioned for BBC Radio 4. She is the founder of The Whole Kahani-a writers’ collective of British South Asian writers. Her first collection of poetry, A Dinner Party in the Home Counties’ was published recently. will be published in October by Skylark Press.

1 Comment

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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