Sujata Bhatt

Between Hearts

for Hans Wap*

Between hearts, the surgeon starts to faint.

No, you say, how can that be?

Between hearts
even the surgeon begins to weep
for all the dying cells he cannot save.

My self, he says, is a red bird,
a red bird hanging upside down
from a slender red branch - 
a red bird surrounded by thousands of red birds.

My soul, he says, is a red blood cell.

Nights I dream of red trees, he says,
I dream of clouds that are green,
clouds that turn into hares - 
hares that turn into leaves.

Between hearts, the surgeon stops to read.

Between hearts, the surgeon remains - 
the surgeon prays, the surgeon pauses -
He eats a sandwich,
calls his wife to see if she can help - 

Ah, but you know, between hearts,
the surgeon cannot wait - 
between hearts is where he wants to stay.

Hans Wap*