Systematic Pressure


Heat is pressing down
on me, making my limbs heavy;
it is too hot to cook dinner,
too hard. Instead, we watch tv
together; we have always
been quite good at
watching tv together,
especially in the heat.
There is an air conditioner;
we don’t use it much.


My chest has been tight all
day; someone has been
sitting on my chest, my
throat has a great big ball
stuck halfway down;
my head is pounding
in a way I have never known
before — the ibuprofen tablets,
small and brown and magic,
do nothing. All my old
remedies have failed me;
so I lie still on the couch,
my head heavy on his chest,
breathing too thickly.


Sometimes, I have woken
in the night unable to breathe
properly; once I called
the hospital, and they said
to come in at once — it’s
very dangerous, not being
able to breathe. I got off
the phone, but decided to
wait a little while, and see
if things got better. They
seemed to get better.


The light has changed.


I am staring out the window
at the sudden missing sunlight —
storm clouds hang heavy
above me; I realize
that the rain is coming,
finally. That’s all. That
explains everything. At last,
it is coming, isn’t it?
The rain.



M.A. Mohanraj
June 16, 1999