How many have died today,
how many got infected?
What would I do with the infection rate and death toll?
And how must be Viramani doing?
Not a single update from him,
no text messages
either from him or his son.
The sky looks so clean
unlike the usual days.
The moon up above also is unblemished.
But why so unsettling is my mind?
Whose voices are those rumbling?
Is it the triumphant giggle of the swindlers?
Or is it the whimpering pain of those suffering?
Hasn’t Viramani recovered a little bit?
Is he still on oxygen support?
Hasn’t he eaten a little bit?
Hasn’t his oxygen level increased a little bit?
To whom shall I ask?
His son must be jittery to get nearer to his father.
He wouldn’t allow it either.
We are now far-removed from each other.
Who is that standing and staring?
With a mask staring at me warily.
A woman? A man? Who?
My wife? My daughter? Or my son?
Is it a new strand of the virus eyeballing me?
Waiting to slip through my nostril
Or fearful of me waiting for a right moment to run away?
Have I become one of the variants?
Raindrops are sprinkling from the unblemished sky.
Why am I still not going to see Viramani?
New leaves have grown on the Leihao you gave.
It’s full of green.
Soon flowers would jut out
with gay abandon scattering fragrances.
I will tell him happily
that the Leihao he gave has started blooming,
come and have a look.
He will come,
my friend Viramani will come.
He will come grinning.
We will grin along.
Then we will go to Nagamapal.
Three or four of us will sit along
and we will laugh our hearts out.
Standing along near the lovely Nambul river
under the unblemished sky
under the moonlight unhazed by smoke
without feeling breathless.
(Manipuri to English: Khura Seraton)