Sudeep Sen

drawing a breath between each
     sentence, trailing closely every word.

   — JAMES HOCH, ‘Draft’ in Miscreants

some things, I knew,
                                                  were beyond choosing:

                                                  under cancer’s terminus care—

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

some friends’ 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, my poetry breathless forever.


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.