Ghazal for the New Normal

By Arsha Adarsh

Each face averted fearfully, each stranger’s eye is strange again.
Breathe your cotton mask, and learn: summer smells the same.

We crouch inside our fortresses of glowing screens, but breezes
smuggle lullabies to call to mind that summer sighs the same.

Dark shadows carve out sharper lines; they tessellate so perfectly to
shape the air that, shimmering green with summer, shines the same.

Seedlings kiss the fallow earth and dust their scent on dancing air–
dance with them and remember, love, your summer soul’s the same.

One autumn day, the blinding skies might shed a tear and fade to grey.
Once we’ve survived and died again, will summer survive the same?


Arsha Adarsh (they/them) is a writer, artist and perpetual maker of things. As a queer, chronically ill and formerly homeless Desi creator, their work is about transformation; mercurial identity, a rapidly shifting world, and reclamation of self and home after displacement. They’ve been featured on for National Poetry Month. Find them on Twitter @Arsha_Writes and Mastodon

This poem is a part of DISTANCED 2.0.

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