TSL Day 19 – Asleep; just not sleeping- Near-death experience poetry

TSL Day 19 – Asleep; just not sleeping- Near-death experience poetry

I’m not going in order while sharing the poems I wrote for the Facebook group, TSL in the month of April. Instead, I decided to share poems that got a good review from those who read them.

The prompt for the 18th day was “asleep but not oblivious of the unslept, unsleeping”- Adrienne Rich. Below was my take on the poem.

Tap, tap, tap, on the tile floor
Tick, tick, tick -on the wall, the air 
heavy, weighing down on me.
The sound of breathing - not mine,
but my husband's as he paces the room,
opening the blinds a little to look out
of the window, letting in a ray of 
It's annoying 
when I'm sleeping

'Please wake up,' his voice sounds raspy, 
he holds my hands in his- his palms are
sweaty, his face looks starved and his
eyes, like saucers, his lips tender on 
my forehead. His breath warm on my face.
A saline drip makes its way down his face
and on my parched skin- I feel a tingling 
sensation. It's strangely satisfying
watching him like this - my fortress
crumbling before me, because of me. 

The driver's at the school gates
waiting to pick Adrian up. I wonder how
we'll tell him. Not we. Just him. Not like this
ofcourse. I'd like to be the one to tell him
and assure him he's going to be fine. He's still 
young. He'll forget, if he's taken care of. 
Children are like that. Adults too. I wish they
would not. I'm being selfish. 

A knock on the door- it's the nurse- a sweet 
girl in her twenties. We've became friends. 
The tip of her nose looks like Rudolph's and she
looks frazzled. First time's always the most
difficult- first love, first break-up, first 
delivery, first scratch on your new car. 
Then, it becomes easier. 
Oh, great! Mom and dad have arrived.
Why can't he stop looking like he's been 
hit by a landslide?
Dad's getting closer. I can tell from his
footsteps. Mom's smiling. 
Why is she smiling? Isn't she supposed 
to be sad like the rest?


Another knock. It's our Adrian. Darling, here. 
My little boy looks unsure. He doesn't come near.
He's explaining to Adrian. Why can't he be louder?
'Mummy's asleep,' he says and takes him away.
Wait! Where's mom and dad?  They've left.

The monitor's beeping, I hear breathing- mine
and a flutter of a heartbeat-  
Where is everyone? 

He's back, Adrian's not with him. He's ripened 
in a night. 'You scared me there,' he says,
'They said you wouldn't wake up. But, I knew 
you were asleep but not oblivious to the unslept,
unsleeping. I missed you. I love you.' 
I manage a veil of a smile. I nod my head,
and close my eyes. I will ask him - 
why he wept so much then? Just not
today-  it's not every day you take a
journey to the other side 

I wrote this poem based on a book I had read a long time ago by Anita Moorjaani called, ‘Dying to be Me’. It’s based on the author’s near-death experience. The book was given to me as a farewell gift by a colleague on whom I had written a post, a long time ago.

Copyright@smithavishwanathsblog.com. All Rights Reserved.

16 responses to “TSL Day 19 – Asleep; just not sleeping- Near-death experience poetry”

    • Thank you so much, Manja. I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem. I shared it on Fb story but the link does not open (blog issue- they’re working on it). These blog problems have got me frustrated.
      The book is an autobiographical account of a woman dealing with cancer. What’s beautiful is it starts with her life in Hong Kong so gives you a peek into the culture there. Thank you for your wishes. Celebrations have been postponed to after the exams :). They end on the 20th.


    • Hi Robbie, It feels so long since I wrote. I’m not sure if it’s the weather here or the exam fever or simply the issues with the blog that made me stay away. I hope to be more active soon. Thank you for your kind words. Hugs.


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