By Hardarshan Singh Valia
He was used to storms plucking away some leaves
taking down some branches, leaving him in tattered clothes. Was
Pandemic, a part of the same storm, hell-bent
to deprive him of his dignity –
to strip him naked. To drain
his meager savings, rob his strength, and keep him awake. To
listen to the caged bird, the only companion he had, who
wouldn’t stop chirping –
“I love you.”
Welcome to Phase IV.
He welcomed the news with an overflow of joy. Wind
before the storm blew hard, he rushed to his car; and,
drove to the casino as fast as he could. Storm
blew through the unlocked door. Freed the caged bird,
into the arms of the darkened sky.
He returned home to an empty cage,
With a jackpot and shortness of breath.
Hardarshan Singh Valia is an earth scientist by profession who sings songs of earth and conveys its wonders through story-telling at venues such as schools, parks, and places where curious people are eagerly awaiting to quench their curiosity about this magical place called earth. His poems stories essays have appeared in Wards Literary Journal, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, Poetic Medicine, River babble, Who Writes Short Shorts, Dove Tales – Writing for Peace- an anthology, Dreamscapes – an anthology,, Pages Penned in Pandemic – A Collective, Art in the Time of Covid-19 – an anthology, Caesura, Sage-ing, Literary Veganism, COVID tales journal, Right Hand Pointing Literary Journal, Poetry And Covid, Huffington Post, Northwest Indiana Times, and in books such as Diamonds-75 Years of Indiana Poetry, Hoosier Horizon, A Magic Hour Family Christmas, and Undeniably Indiana (Indiana University Press).