Mia Ayumi Malhotra

A mechanical beeping fills the space around your bed and there is a kind of jerking and tongue fluttering followed by a grayness that sets in. A sickly shine sets in and your tongue flattens in the mouth making a croaking sound where the eyes flutter. I cannot see my face but when I tell the nurse in the next cubicle can you please come can you what I say has a gray and sickly shine and cannot escape. It is plugged with needles and cannot leave the building.


As you are wheeled through the double doors I hear a mouth ripping which is mine. No news is good news. One of us does as it should and kisses when the nurse says kiss but the other walks rapidly to the nearest door and disappears. Is it true that as you are wheeled through the downy hairs covering your upper body are the same hairs on your bare shoulders this morning. Will this end.


One of us sits in a room and listens to Fox News counting the houndtooth pattern on the chair in front of us. One of us stands staring at the double doors as they open and shut without stopping. There is the sound of someone snoring in the corner. As there is no latch they continue to swing around empty air. A woman touches her eyes with a white tissue. We are the only one standing here as the nurses have all gone through and so have you. We think your face is somewhere in the building. A man in a white jacket is looking at your face. When we see you again it will be with a different face.





Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely is the primary force behind this poem—with, as Robert Creeley puts it, its "fierce examination of solitude" and "voice at its heart bewildered by its inadequacy."