Amorphophallus titanum

Divya Shah

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                 photo by Neha Mani

You’re such a brave girl.

They say as they surround the bed and gaze down

At my pathetic figure 

Sunken in the depth of linen sheets 

They place useless trinkets on my side table

Cheap cards, a Walmart bear, and

A deflated Get Better Soon! balloon

They think I’m a vacuous fool

Comforted by their hollow displays of affection

They fidget and smile anxiously

Eager to leave this unsettling inferno

What’s that smell?

They wrinkle their noses and look around.

Guilt frames their face when they realize that it smells

of disinfectant and desperation 

Of an intoxicating flower flourishing 

In the pit of my stomach 

Its roots stretching through my veins

Clasping at my throat

At least you can afford treatment.

Their faces crumple in self righteous indignation

A few haughty goodbyes

And they leave

The double doors swinging

God gave you another chance.

Cream walls and frayed acrylic curtains

An old TV set gathering layers of dust 

Fixed in the corner.

Unmoving.

Immortal.

Ancient.

A chance indeed.