Literature Poetry Queer Isolation in a Pandemic Tharuna Abbu

Emergency Measures

For mobile devices, this poem is best read in landscape orientation mode.

    Tharuna Abbu

Day 1                 the enemy is not the virus                 3a

Day 2                      it is the replication                       61b

Day 3                            of forgetting                           159c

Day 4                that to live is the privilege              760d
  of surviving

Day 5                  that we drew the borders              1,181e
    and built the cages

Day 6                    that freedom is in the                5,500f
 knots of our binding

Day 7                      that we are in this               202, 520g
together and have always

a. the number of deaths per day from drug overdose in 2019
b. the number of Canadian reserve communities without drinking water in 2020
c. the net worth, in billions of dollars, of Jeff Bezos
d. monthly payout for a single person on income assistance in British Columbia
e. the estimated number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada to date
f. the number of migrant children separated from their families under the Trump administration
g. estimated deaths from HIV/AIDs in the United States in the 1980s

Tharuna Abbu is a poet, writer, and family doctor living on unceded Coast Salish territories. They are a student of The Writer’s Studio program from Simon Fraser University, and they have work forthcoming in the program’s annual anthology, Emerge. Their work has also been published in CV2 and Room Magazine.