Cars swirling round and round

Their whir a daily greeting

soon to be followed by the clunk of the cleaner

rattling down the hallway

Lingering, like the pong of chlorine or artificial fragrance,

Scrubbing and vacuuming floors barely trodden

Replacing towels unused

Over and over.


Patients arise for the new day,

as new as the last.

Voices echo outside my door,

replacing the whine of traffic and vacuuming.

It is my new point of fixation,

as irritating as an unscratched itch.

The words “good morning” seep under my door,

one thousand daggers to the heart.

I cannot remember a single morning in my life that was good.

Even in this mental ward, I sometimes feel more alone than ever.

Some patients make their way into the dining room for breakfast.

I lie awake, wrapped in coldness,

Wondering what’s the point in sustaining this futile existence.

Longing for a pill that could give me eternal sleep,

Or at least let me sleep through the night,

Blissfully unaware of my impending doom;

My brain to be blasted with magnetic fields

thousands of times stronger than the earth’s.

Of the fear that this, like my other failed therapies,

may be my crucifix rather than savior.

Of the meaninglessness of life,

And of the periodic night checks,

Like grandfather clock donging each hour,

The presence of another human being in my bedroom, armed with a flashlight,

Checking to make sure I am “safe”,

That I am still a breathing object.

But while my lungs continue to inhale air,

I died long back.

I am a living corpse,

being kept on life support.


The tragedy of life, 

is not death.

It is what dies inside us while we live.