Choice

drawing a breath between each
sentence, trailing closely every word.
— James Hoch, ‘Draft’ in Miscreants

1.

some things, I knew,
were beyond choosing:

didu—grandmother—wilting
under cancer’s terminus care.

mama’s mysterious disappearance—
ventilator vibrating, severed
silently, in the hospital’s unkempt dark.

an old friend’s biting silence—unexplained—
promised loyalties melting for profit
abandoning long familial presences of trust.

devi’s jealous heart misreading emails
hacked carefully under cover,
her fingernails ripping
unformed poems, bloodied, scarred—
my diary pages weeping wordlessly—
my children aborted, breathless forever.

2.

these are acts that enact themselves, regardless—
helpless, as i am,
torn asunder permanently, drugged, numbed.

strange love, this is— a salving:
what medics and nurses do.

i live buddha-like, unblinking, a painted vacant smile—
one that stores pain and painlessness—
someone else’s nirvana thrust upon me.

some things I once believed in
are beyond my choosing—
choosing is a choice unavailable to me.

by Sudeep Sen.

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