Asian memories fill my hospital rounds
Sterile white walls like wound dressings just-for-show
no pus, no blood, no seeping yellow serum
perfect lines, spotless tape and shiny clips holding up–
sparsely checkered impressionist prints:
pastels sponged into blurred blasé images
intentionally offensive to no one.
Waxed and polished floors, without flashing shadows
of rats seeking to hide behind un-emptied bed pans.
Familiar monotonous disinfectants whisper “hello”
as doors open into each air-conditioned rooms
where patients in humiliating (but fresh) gowns await visitors.
If they come, families wear consolingly-pleasant visiting attire.
Relatives with field-dung clinging to them do *not* crowd the room
nor stain the sheets with their home-cooked orange turmeric,
nor spit blood-red betel nut phlegm on the floors,
nor leave fingered scraps for the scampering roaches.
Instead, stainless-steel carts deliver timely trays:
perfect portions covered by dull-lifeless plastic.
While chattering TVs, tightly scheduled tests and meds
distract patients from feeling their sterile loneliness
as we safely move them along the assembly-line
of our developed world.
— by Sabio Lantz
This poem is for d’Verse Poets where Brian challenges us: “Today I want you to focus on detail in your poem. Make a person, a place, a scene come alive to us today. Touch all the senses. Hyperdetail and write in technicolor 3D HD…smiles. Put me in that moment.”
Our daily impressions are colored by our past. I lived more than a decade in Asia with much of my time working in hospitals and clinics – some very modern, some not. I still work in medicine and this photo is from one of the hospitals where I was doing early morning rounds while memories of rural Asian smells, sounds and feelings accompanied me that day.