a haiku

with regards to COVID-19, work and student culture — can or will we ever rest, even when time appears to halt?

we can’t be conquered
before we even start it,
we can’t pretend to

be replaceable
and while we don’t know why our
fire burns, we shine

like the nightly stars, we’re
fixed, we toil, we “have to” make
excuses for why

cost, productivity loss,
no rest for the soul

the world is glass, from
the inside out, see the life
we’re “supposed” to have

it’s always “supposed”
and “have” and “due” and “job apps”
but not the “human”

what‘s the work, without
the who, the why, the “take care,”
“don’t stay up too late”

a machine can be
repaired but not your mind, can’t
burn the midnight oil

will there ever be,
a time when timelines stop; some
rest for the weary?

when our voices inside your head never let you rest,
how many sheep do you have to count to lay the screams to bed?

to the voices that lie in wait, until my heart is cleaved,
and the shy ones in pretend, that scream when the blinds are closed,
and to the voices that take charge like television personalities —
the television is off, but somebody is always home.

and for the voices that…

3 weeks, 5 homes, a hilarious driver-cook duo, and several dance practices with children later: I cannot believe a third of this summer in India has come to an end.

Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi, India

From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, and hundreds of cups of coffee and biscuits in between, our experience as the 2019 Delhi SRT team has been a whirlwind. We’ve seen translators come and go (many, MANY of them), had a fantastic yet slightly nerve-wracking time coordinating…

week 1: an adventure

I’m currently on week 1 of 8 in Kochi, India through the DukeEngage program — it’s essentially an immersive summer of service program that Duke does all around the world (both domestic inside the United States and internationally), and my program is focused on women empowerment and health and human…

vowing to change
to seek release, medication
an excuse for peace
an else other than life
deserving a calm more than death
pushing until break
but instead the breaking point comes free
a freedom I’ll never have
an else that’s not for me

juggling seven plates
yet eating off of none

a haiku

all in her power
for him, passion deeper than
the known universe

expansive as the
constellations, carress him
in blankets of stars

her every move traced,
connecting the stars, a path
for his future actions

as he grows he thinks
of his mother’s grasp, and no
fears left in the world

they retain what they
love, cherish what each one needs,
understand the stars

conservation of
galaxies, they remind us
of a mother’s touch

arthi for .

a haiku

ever present and
effervescent, diving deep
into the unknown

a dark blue sea, yet
a bright goal in sight, she will
persevere, remain

she is virago
heroic, strong, honoring
the rest, unstoppable

the ocean opens
before her, greeting passage,
her idyllic home

a warrior in
disguise, tempting fate every
day, exuberant

arthi for .

a haiku

slowly they left from
my life, crawling, sprinting from
a curse they didn’t want

i’ve spent time searching,
pleading, but they made their choice
a long time ago

those I trusted most
stole a piece of my heart to
keep, I am not whole

I never seem to
learn, I fall for the ones who
soar above my care

trying to pick up
the remaining parts, I can’t
give them away now

for months I will learn
but then I meet someone new,
and it all returns

the pain remains, stuck
in an empty canvas, an
art piece in progress

and every time it
happens a new masterpiece
is formed, my heart gone

each one hangs inside
my brain, in full sight while I
make the same mistakes

when all I can think
of are these pieces, perhaps
i’ll learn to forget

arthi for .

Arthi Kozhumam

Austin, TX | Duke University ‘21/’22 | 👩🏽‍⚕️🇱🇷🇮🇳

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