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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Paresh Tiwari


Days bleed into nights like a clock wound-up to run circles till eternity.

Twice a day we turn him on his side to swab the oozing pustules with medicated gauze. Once the raw-pink skin is sufficiently aired, the attendant turns him on his back, careful not to let the I.V. slip out of the thin blue veins that crisscross his arms. His raspy breath comes out in short bursts and his eyes crinkle at the edges in a meek imitation of what we remember of his smile.

Today, he is hot and damp like the summer noon, but when I try to pull my hand away; his fingers curl around mine in a feather grip.

prayer flags . . .
slowly the snow fills up
my footsteps

Note: The haiku was previously published as a stand-alone hokku in Under the Basho, 2015.