Deborah Ketai '76

As some countries return to lockdown, many people are struggling anew with being unable to meet loved ones during quarantine. Despite this isolation, writers and artists continue to dedicate themselves to creating new work. In this new limited series, Barnard community members share poems and songs that speak to this unique moment in time. (If you would like to contribute, please email

Today, we share Deborah Ketai ’76's poem "Prayer from the Silo." 


Prayer from the Silo
I remember the days before the first plague,
before sex with a new partner required pedigree research
Today, when we cautiously contemplate shaking hands or hugging,
we block out how things were
before physical contact could kill,
before we had to calculate previous contacts
against a two-week calendar
These pandemics killed off closeness,
kissed off intimacy, quarantined us in our own
bodies, locked us in our own minds
All we can hope is that someday we can bridge
this separation, this single-bodiedness, and,
as survivors, rediscover the blessings
of casual touch and fierce togetherness