About Perundevi Srinivasan

Perundevi Srinivasan is a leading Tamil poet as well as a scholar of Religious and Women's Studies.

“I can’t turn in the essay before the due date”

“I can’t turn in the essay before the due date”

because
my father is in the ICU at a hospital
my mother is Covid positive she is
lying down in the next room
my kitten died does the virus infect cats
I don’t have a computer so how can I write
a fight at home my father has broken my mother’s nose
five bodies arrived in our street today
I live in Queens with the noise of
ambulance sirens at all hours
I don’t know what to write is it okay
if I turn in a paragraph
I am scared
Hanuman came in my dream he will protect us all
Jesus appeared in my dream he looked sad
I expect you will give me an “A” for the essay
no matter how you find it
take care
I don’t miss your class not at all
my parents are asking me to join a college near our house
folks in our country didn’t send a plane they have abandoned us
I am living in a friend’s house they give me food
there was just one packet of cereal in the supermarket
are they going to shut down the supermarket
the sun is hot my puppy is playing outside
why should I write the essay

(Translated by N. Kalyan Raman)

(Editor’s note: This poem first appeared in Scroll. Thanks to Scroll and to Perundevi Srinivasan for permission to share it here.)

(Photo Credit: Untapped Cities)