labyrinth of sickness

a million metamorphoses
‘Labyrinth of Sickness’ by Shubhra Rathore

Will She?

Only after my grandmother is taken
to the seventh hospital, I think of her death

with certainty — its cold, so incredible,
so close, my bones shiver as I enter her

room, scared. If she dies, this room will
always be empty — silence of the walls

screaming — rebellious tears pouring —
her television eternally shut black;

her temple, unkempt; the gods
collecting dust, losing their powers.

I turn off the only blue bulb burning —
hung over the god of light — the dark

engulfs. I sit on her bed, and wonder what if
she never returns, like her father who went

to the war. Will she return? It is the toil
of darkness to wipe the profanities

of the sun. Will she not?



Dying lasts forever until it stops

My grandmother dangles in the sky
like dusk — abandoned
by the day, unaccepted by the dark.

This world is no place for the aged
and the diseased — I never thought
it could happen to her — her

of all people — her body is lost
in a labyrinth of sickness — looks
as if she’s already died a dozen times.

Never sleeps, not a wink — watery,
sticky, constant eyes — how can a kilo
of tissues equal a kilo of tears?

Her impossible pain, like dusk —
with no possible place to go — stretches
out its limbs and lies beside her, still.


Today is Tomorrow is Yesterday

Life, with or without desire, passes us by.
Lying swollen in your hospital dress,
is today the day you die?

Yesterday was February, now it’s July.
Time plays its trick, is ever ready to oppress.
Life, with or without desire, passes us by.

Look at the earth as the rain falls from the sky.
You’re the bearer, I only a witness.
The sky says today is the day you die.

Try if you must you can hold nothing in your eye.
How many times do you want me to stress:
Life, with or without desire, passes us by.

I feel your pain. No, that is but a lie.
It is impossible to touch another’s illness.
I can only pray today is the day you die.

You do not need a sky to look at the sky.
Time is a luxury. So is timelessness.
Life, with or without desire, passes us by.
May today be the day you die.

a million metamorphoses
‘Labyrinth of Sickness’ by Shubhra Rathore