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Pandemic Poems - Lockdown Lessons

This lockdown has given us the luxury to stay out of harm’s way.
(while the internet keeps us sane)
But, what if, there was no garbage collection during this time?
Or, at any time in our lives?

there’d be heaps of garbage everywhere
spoilt, stinking
swarming with flies
like our worst nightmare

all the infections that could spread
and the rodents that would breed
just having no stench around you
would be a dream, indeed

out of sight, out of mind
that’s how we’ve always dealt with waste
as soon as it’s out of our houses
it’s someone else’s problem to face

and even if we see the garbage truck
on the road, while driving
we move as far away as possible
as we start grumbling and chiding

every morning,
in every building,
the garbage collectors
take trash downstairs
from broken glass to sanitary pads,
none of which is theirs

they pick the box in which your pizza
was delivered last night
while they think about what they’ll give their kids
for dinner tonight

how would you like to deal
with someone else’s rotting mess
every single day?
if it weren’t for these unsung heroes
it would be impossible
to keep any illness at bay

the risk at which they put themselves
and their loved ones
surrounded by so many germs
for such meager sums

the least we can do, for these heroes,
working to keep our surroundings clean,
is to segregate our waste
into wet and dry bins.

it feels like such a big task for us
every time we want to throw waste in
just spending a second to think
about which dustbin

imagine the scene
if these unsung heroes didn’t
keep the country clean
while we face the worst public health crisis
the world has ever seen


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About the Author

Akhila Joshi

Akhila Joshi

Hey there :) Calling myself a writer seems a little too good to be true, so I just say: I write. I also like exploring new places and music when I'm not curled up reading a book or binge-watching.