It’s four months since I saw you
It’s not the time that is the problem
When I was younger and you stronger-
I did not see you for longer
And it did not matter.
Now I’m older
And you are no longer stronger.
I call to make up for the distance
for the absence
You complain of how it all hurts – every bone in your body – it rattles
You talk of your illness- like the weather reporter in the morning news.
You talk of loneliness and your failing organs
of the medication. I understand.
You talk, I listen.
It makes me sad. I pray for you.
It makes me think, ‘What if you were with me? Would it be better?’
I know the answer
But I’m not that strong. I wish I were
If I could see you – I would feel better.
I know how you hate the camera and yet
Yesterday – you turned it on- your eyes looked bigger
I saw a twinkle – I remembered it from when I was nine.
How I loved seeing it then. How it comforted me now
Your ears looked bigger too
Your hair trimmed to a bare stubble – too short for your liking
I know. But ‘liking’ is a robe you discarded a year ago-
When you moved in to live at ‘Faith.’
I saw you smile- a flicker like a candle in the wind.
And your hand lift- to wave in the stamp-sized box on the screen.
Then I saw black – the dark tunnels of your ear
as you strained to hear –
Pressing the phone against your skull.
I talked, I repeated, I raised my voice –
You heard a whisper.
I said, ‘Bye,’
My heart felt lighter
I’d seen your eyes twinkle – kind and eager
I slept well last night
You’d done it again
banished the demons
like when I was five.
Smitha Vishwanath is a banker turned writer. She began her writing journey in 2016 through her blog. Thieving Magpies, Spillwords Press, Silverbirch Press, Borderless Journal, and Rebelle Society have published her poetry. In 2019, her poem, 'Omid' was nominated for Best of the Net and her poems, 'Do you have dreams?' and 'Forgotten' were given special mention in NaPoWriMo, 2021 and 2022, hosted by Maureen Thomson. In addition, she was awarded the Reuel International Prize for poetry by the online group TSL. In 2019, she co-authored a book of poetry, 'Roads- A journey with Verses', which received positive reviews. Smitha's writing is peppered with the lessons learned from the plethora of invaluable experiences that come from having lived in India, UAE and Iran, worked in a multi-cultural environment and travelled widely. She resides in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing, you can find her painting, travelling, or sharing reviews of books she has read on Goodreads, Amazon, and her blog. Her debut novel 'Coming Home' was released on 24th March 2023 and is currently available through Amazon on Kindle and as paperback, in most countries.