Alone, At Home
“Sorry Auntie, we can’t visit you this month.”
“The government said so.”
“It’s all for your own good.”
They say it’s not safe for me to go out,
That I should stay at home.
Weekly befriender visits stopped,
The visits I eagerly looked forward to
When the young ones light up my dark, empty flat
With their smiles and laughter.
Even the Senior Activity Centre downstairs has closed,
Bingo and morning exercises now replaced
By hours and hours of television.
But that bright shiny screen with its lively characters
Cannot replace the warmth of real life interaction.
Time passes slower.
I suppose I should be grateful
That at least there are still weekly phone calls
From the concerned befrienders,
And grocery and sometimes meal delivery
From volunteers and staff
Who care but cannot stay longer
Than ringing the doorbell
And saying hello and good-bye.
It can’t be helped, I suppose
Since the government did this to keep us old people safe.
It’s all for our own good.
I understand, I do understand.
I just wish
I didn’t feel this lonely.
I wrote this poem as part of my Art That Listens Sociologically group assignment. Titled ‘Quarantine: Masked Perspectives’, my groupmates and I each wrote a poem that imagines the lived experiences of three vulnerable groups in Singapore amidst the current COVID-19 situation – the isolated elderly, victims of domestic abuse and migrant workers.
Stay safe everyone and do support local fundraising or volunteering initiatives during this difficult period!