A Love Letter from Hospital
By Sandeep Kumar Mishra
Hospitals are ideograms of truth
where death has no false tint of life—
pukka pain, pink anguish, but stained hope.
You might see Hoag’s a galaxy
within a galaxy within a galaxy. . .
Once we enter here it seems a black hole,
As if the end of the world, but
one patient, like a phoenix, obtains
new life by rising from the ashes
while another dies in a show of
flames and a combustion of malady
The white wall only once smelled
deserts its petroleum daughter
as we loose our own aroma,
the one we put on every morning,
into this bouquet of different
essences of drugs, syrup, Dettol
or antiseptic with some
of the odorless bones and meat
The ill, so woebegone in their sojourns,
are so true pale blue.
You could not but be brave when you see
these patients, with the patience of the Spartan school,
prove the man is greater than his pain—
You would be a great philosopher,
the first to laugh but the last to complain,
once you came out of the hospital,
where the surgical folk who, though mortals, never see
themselves in that line, are a cheerful green, and
They, with fear and hope in the form of dream,
add a little love potion to every prescription
Someone soulful comes to meet them
and hold one of their hands. At once,
you feel house keys in your hand,
but here no heart is bypassed by love.
When you hug them, their ribs make
a room for your fleshy abdomen,
as you sense the titanic waterfall
of their hearts slowly sinking
When you come to this place,
try to avoid any mirror or self-reflection.
You won’t see the things you usually see—
but your purged soul will peep out of body fabric
like sunlight coming out of a barred window.
You can no longer balance petty yourself,
as the inner burden will be more than your body weight
Let us praise these insomniac beds!
Let us praise the fans that don’t adjust,
praise the room service that doesn’t exist.
Let us praise the hospital staff—
they are angels without wings—
covering under fake masks of joy
they find expired lungs and tired hearts
lying in their paths every day.
They play poker with their lives
in this game with virus and ailment,
as they foster death for other passive parties too
By Sandeep Kumar Mishra
The humanity is caving in slow corona motion
I, like a sea mouse back to my hidey-hole,
Set an alarm every morn, lay in bed to ignore it—
I stay for what seems like minutes but becomes hours—
Week and weeks in hibernation. Am I a little lonely bear?
Sometimes I feel homesick in my home and
think I’m put in a home jail for not having corona.
It feels like a creepy clown chasing me
or I am being cornered by zombies.
I work from green home but the world is in the red zone
As I log on for socializing and switch on to remote voice
Are vectors we all or postcodes alike?
My body robots repeat eat, sleep, eat—
Is breakfast still breakfast if I have it at 12?
Is dinner still dinner if I have cookies for tea?
Now this thing is nonfiction—health vs. economy.
The virus does not care
for the digits in your bank account
or your total assets or the GDP,
And even the fiction is dark, but there’s still music
The relentless race of traffic and people
has been turned into marathon of conscious breath,
Shopping has become tracking down others’ health,
Sanitizer in the pockets, wearing face masks—
Sneezing is new way to attract attention,
Corona warriors on the front line,
but some people still curse and cry
I blink my eyes, focusing on the horizon
as if concentration itself will transport me to another place.
Did I just see a butterfly land in that flower?
When kookaburras cackle flying over empty streets
When the crickets’ chirp sounds alone,
Do they know what is happening to us?
Am I noticing more than I did before?
The lungs feel clear, birds have replaced planes,
We venture out of the house to the garden and back in again—
it’s made all of us hermits.
The sky is blue now, or is it just me?
Now I understand less means more
COVID-19 is a hydra-headed challenger
to our modern modality to wake up
buying cheap tack from cheap labor,
I wonder why I feel a sense of guilt
when I see others suffering while I am not,
But I am now getting used to my pyjamas
About the Writer:
Sandeep Kumar Mishra is an outsider artist, poet and lecturer in English Literature and Political Science, and he is the art instructor at Kishlaya Outsider Art Academy. He edited Pearls (2002), a collection of poems by various poets, and he wrote the professional guidebook How to Become a Teacher in Australia and New Zealand: A Complete and Authentic Guide (2016). An original collection of his poetry, One Heart, Many Breaks was published by Indian Poetry Press in August 2020. His website is www.sandeepkumarmishra.com.