Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Sankar Roy


The doctor prescribes multivitamin for Mirza's general wellness    antidepressant to surpress his mental duress    calcium to reinforce the strength of his bone    his skeleton    garlic pills to    combat his heart's disorder    blood pressure    ginseng to enhance his vision    fluoride to shine Mirza's teeth's enamel    nickel for the fingernail    silicon for the toenail    chromium for body hair    vanilla for body odor    magnesium to boost sex-drive    omega-3 to enhance smoothness of his arteries    white pills for reasons not disclosed    blue pills for only weekends    purple capsules when Mirza has belly pain    green medication for his sleeplessness    tea-drop and ginger root when Mirza has a bad throat    cardamom for his gum disease    mint extracts for Mirza's better memory    zinc to produce    mysterious hormones    too much of which can turn Mirza green and too less of it can turn him pink    biotin to avoid graying    ambrosia to defer death    gooey stuff to stop the heartburn    spongy matter to hide his bad breath    liquid things to keep off the nightmares    solid tablets to curb his substance abuse    generic drug for his common illness    brand names for Mirza's unusual malady such as compassion    affection    longing

Issue 1 | June 2010

Yellow Fever

"Who is dying there with a yellow heart?" a febrile Mirza asks. "All grungy places are asylums of nerve" Mirza infers. From the concrete's coarseness of whatever city of whatsoever country, a ruler wails to be released from the bondage of his rage. Musicians flee with their mandolins and playwrights hide like the erudite flies. Pythagoras runs with his torn umbrella behind a black Mercedes.

The ceasefire is called off but the vengeance remains: painted faces, bayoneted monkeys dance to a death tune. Survivors wind down the path which ceases to exist. Snakes slither in their complicated skin as thugs discover glamour in technical studios. Someone sings in an invented dialect, Gayetjulie ordonjulie lewiskaren hudsonkate lawlerkate!

The bartender eventually gets tipped for his temptation: fake breasts rest in a glassy bar and pareewashes, wearing frosty lipsticks, burst into beer laughter. A ubiquitous clerk drinks from a water bottle and web-searches eternal junk. Even a locksmith cannot break open the casket in which a great friend hides and does not return calls.

pareewash = angel/beauty/fairy