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HOME: it’s back – Aaliyah Crawford

I never wondered where doubt went after
Under the bed beasts became soft in the sunlight
Blinds open not gone
looming over my head

It’s back

The weight of regressing so far so fast
strong hands lost, weak, suddenly shaking
At a headline
Sick with something that’s for sure

I wonder how sadness impacts your immune system

Back breaking years spent teaching myself
love for the sound of my own voice
The well of self-respect is poisoned again and I am agape
How did I do this before?

I used to sleep all day

I have been training for a marathon
to stretch out the space between
Then and now, before and after, 
later became closer than it had ever been

A deleted calendar, ignoring reminders of loss

I forgot the smothering weight of insecurity
my life was gasping beneath, before the seismic shift
when just surviving wasn’t enough anymore, longing for chance
Was anyone else hearing the sound of life so close?

The blurred days are stained the colour of my numbness

Deciding I was better, again
the shock of feeling the power of choice lingers still
But now skepticism has been forcefully contracted, ingested
digesting slowly, the feeling of it rotting in my belly

I wait for a change like a dog at the door
Between death tolls they say we might be inside for months
time grows exponentially the deeper 
I go, shark unmoving–sinking
Clawing to hope but I fear I might deface it

I think I seem okay but I did then, too


Self-isolation can heighten feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. In these trying times, don’t hesitate to reach out to others or learn about the services that can help you and your loved ones. To start, here is the complete list of mental health services offered by Concordia University.


“HOME” is a seven part series addressing the personal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on my mental health. Through poetry and images, I aim to highlight the ways in which self-isolation has altered my relationship with my home and the objects within it. As time morphs into something semi-familiar, I and many others are finding themselves dependent, fixated, or longing for things in new ways. The phone, window, toilet paper all take on new roles in this new version of the day-to-day. Fuzzy images of a ghost-like me, or perhaps a ghost-like us, interact under the oppression of the unknown, and even more under the burden of the known. In this series, I hope to capture the strangeness of this time; its small comforts and heavy pains, to work through our experiences together.

Aaliyah Crawford is a Montreal Undergraduate student in Print Media exploring the themes of privacy, intimacy and abuse. By creating a dialogue between her lived experiences and those of the viewers through imagery, printed objects, installation and text, she attempts to bridge the gap between the innately individual and the universal, connecting viewer and artist through shared vulnerability. Guiding and prompting viewers, the work aims to disrupt, challenge and undermine the toxic and oppressive tropes surrounding all forms of emotional expression within the public, private and personal spheres. Delving into the multiple intersecting oppressive forces that she faces, she underlines the power of remaining soft under these pressures.

You can find Aaliyah’s work on instagram.

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