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The Lonely Death Of An Indian Stethoscope by Shantanu Anand


I have a job that every man wants - I get to professionally listen to heartbeats I get to hear a change of breath A rush of blood to the head I get to hear your ribcage whisper in its dreams These days I find it hard to fall asleep It's not that I'm afraid of dying, It's just that I can't help but count every moment I'm alive for All my life I counted One two, one two, one two Can you hear me? I'm trying to remember What it was like to feel young See, youth for me is not what youth is for humans Youth for me is not warmth or tenderness Or smooth skin or skipping heartbeats My skin has always been cold And nobody ever wanted to touch me. All my life I counted other people's heartbeats And now I'm alone And there's no one to count my heartbeats for me. Can you hear me? I'm trying to remember When I became old When my heartbeat slowed to a waltz From the fast foxtrot that it once was I've heard the 4 by 4 in your heart And the rock n roll in your chest I know the Bhangra of your palpitations The scratched records of your exclamations Shhhh Listen closely Can you hear it? One two, one two Can you hear me? The way I once heard you? When I snaked up to your chest  To listen to music that even you didn't know was there Even now I sometimes dance to it When I'm walking up the stairs Or waiting for an appointment Have you ever seen me Move like a butterfly that's just grown wings I hope you didn't miss it, I might never do it again. Shhhh Let's listen to the silence As it lies without a heartbeat And it has no trouble breathing And it has no need to worry But we do, you and I We are the same in that we cannot hide our fear All one has to do is listen To know that our hearts are quaking in their boots Like a small child on his first day in a new school So listen Please hear me. Not my voice But my heartbeat So you can know how much fear I feel. All my life I've counted heartbeats One two, one two Won't you count mine for me, human? Just this one time? And I will count the moments, one by one, Like a clock about to be taken down Like a cloud about to burst Like the last episode of a TV show. Come, let us count together One, one, one, one, one.


Follow Shantanu's work here.

 
 
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