The Sick Room

by Lakshmi

i’m a shadow that’s aching at the heartstrings
summer bird against winter winds that lost the herd
my notes fly like wayward kites into the humid sky
and i follow the footsteps down the hall, going up
going up
carpeted elevations and chairs on wooden desks
they fix the clock for me and i want to smile with gratitude
i’m empty but for the burden of my earthly sins
maybe if they drained it out of me i could float up high
up high

a woman in blue and white she says i’ve seen her before
i can’t remember her face but i take her word for truth
she asks me what i’m sick of, i’m silent and she smiles
she sees the bruises on my skin and turns away
turns away
the clock ticks and i write like i know what i’m writing
nausea swirling in my chest monsters jumping down my throat
but there’s something about this room and i am less afraid
like something shields me from the danger up ahead
up ahead

i wish they’d throw me more rooms like this in life
looking down from the window-eye into concrete
the world spins on and so do i but time is not an enemy
and i’ll shake hands with her on equal terms for the first time
first time
chalkboard scrawls upon the walls i wonder what they mean
losing grip of certainty but chasing myself into corners
shining lights on riddles that were soaring out of grasp
but i don’t need to solve them because i’m content to stay here
stay near

give me more sick rooms in life
oh, give me another chance
to take back my goodbyes

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