4 May, Noida, India

By Pallavi Singh

Not everyone grows fat
during a quarantine. Look at me,
Just this morning I took the stairs
after picking up milk from the guard
watching over the deliveries of
all my neighbors.
On floor one, I saw a mask in a bin and ran towards the second, heart racing
but that was just
runner’s high.
I climbed past unkempt staircases,
I thought of the missing cleaners,
but I was just panting too much
to think anymore.
I reached 16th floor and took the lift,
the 22nd floor is vacant except for me.
A man in blue emerged outside the lift,
scrubbing the floor, but I just screamed.
A few weeks ago, I thought,
seeing a man was no big deal.
My heart has now grown
the size of a sinking boulder on Mount Everest
about to set off an avalanche.
Everyone gets fat during a quarantine –
the weight of sadness can not be measured
on a scale.