I wrote this spoken word poem as part of a guided writing workshop on Instagram live with Rupi Kaur.

We met gradually, in the month of March.

First you hovered at the edges of my awareness, a faraway shadow.

Then you took a few steps closer and started to impinge on things I had in mind.

Middle-ground significance, so no real problem.

Then you came fully into my face, didn’t you? And started trampling all over my well laid plans.

My plans for touch and rediscovery and deep breaths and belonging and re-feeling and filling of longings.


And here you are, all jagged and heavy handed.

Cutting, breaking, splintering all that was future in my past.

Demolition ball set against my needs being met.

Determined, aren’t you?

There is a twofold coldness:

That sharp shock of realising what you do,

And the creeping iciness as each new day comes and you persist.


Forced separation.

I have heard about you for years, decades even. But in the abstract.

I couldn’t even empathise!

I had no idea what you were capable of stealing, what thieving the physical freedom does to me internally.

What it does to my identity.

I had no idea.

I’m shocked at how ignorant I was. That somehow I thought I understood you.

As a concept, maybe loosely. But as a visitor?

This is another story.


The flip side of course is that billions of other humans are finding the same.

That is billions to one.

That is about as outnumbered as you can get.

So you wait, just you wait for the empathy bomb that is going to drop.

And it will blow you breaking, thieving, cold determination out of the water.

You wait.


There’ll be nothing you can do to un-sweeten the taste of your absence.

There won’t even be a thought of you, because we’ll be bathing in the delectable joy of being with each other.

You will be a thing of the past.


~ Forced separation