A doctor in tailcoats

Makes a house call.

He straps her ankles,

Shoves a buffer in her mouth.

Her husband kisses her eyes closed,

Pins down her fleshy arms.

The doctor pads her temples,

Inserts wires into a black box.

Bulbs flicker as he smoothes

Moonlight back in her throat.

Doctor unplugs his machine.

A boy with birthmark on forehead

Tiptoes to his mother’s bed

Where she calmly asks my name.

by Rafiq Kathwari, the first non-Irish winner of the Patrick Kavanagh 2013 Poetry Award, representing Ireland Literature Exchange at the Hyderabad Literary Festival January 23-25, 2014.