culling

Ilona Yusuf


in corona days, covid—covert?—I’m culling books, belongings.

i’m not prepared to think about corona today as i sort through stacked books. enough of it, it’s pervaded my life already, from the paranoia and obsessiveness of early days, the strange gripping inertia that stops one from ‘using this time to be creative’, to the almost serene calm that accepts growing figures of infection.

i’d rather think about the wonderful prolonged spring, time of gold light and flowering trees, red cotton, orchid tree, chinaberry, Indian coral, jacaranda. but even that’s tainted, the extended cool a perfect spawning ground for locusts, ravenous swarms ravaging the fields.


i’m glad my parents aren’t alive to live through this, i think, their last years and months were already punctuated by suicide bombings, displacement, civil strife, accidents of the arrogance of ignorance.


i don’t want to think of falling further, a vortex of disaster, famine, death.


it’s as I ruminate thus that I come upon camus’s la peste, buried for three decades in a tin trunk amongst a host of classics, french, english, urdu, polish.