My Father's Stroke

Vriddhi Vinay


1. the day of

the air is sterile and
my father’s heart beats against a beep and against itself.
what isn't a carton of apple juice is urine.
what isn't a leech is an IV finding space
in a room where all three seats are taken,
the bed isn’t empty,
my sleeve is perfumed by iodine and saline,
my father acts out sleep,
the tubes in his arms gouged into their sockets,
corking iron and the vestige of yesterday’s life,
the floor is littered with dust mites and cotton fiber
is more silence
where the octaves of
pain and disgust
never climb over ribbed tongues


2. interrogation

“what happened to your father?”
      he had a stroke.
      his brain burst into blood and turned to a clutter.
      he had a stroke.
“is he okay?”
      no, he is fine.
“do you need anything?”
      yes, we are fine.


3. cerebrum

from fold          to crease          to crevice         to fold
to writhe from        leaflet to           fold to        shaking palm (to quaver in mine)
to sleep                   to CAT              to throb         to needle
to ache                  to sleep                to sleep        
to come home warped like driftwood, drifting towards the solid


4. by bedside

he murmurs something         I’ll / be / okay
and the man in the bed next to me is foreign.
his palm dangles, locks into mine,
and I smooth the veins, the nails chewed like mine,
in one stroke
like I hope that his uncle and his “father” and his father
and that I
and that he


Bio: Vegan vixen, Leftist love. A South Indian queer feminist. WoC enthusiast, literary arts aficionado, and White Supremacist Callout™ fanatic. Read their published crap at All hate mail and inquiries directed towards Stalk them on twitter or ig @scaryammu.