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Throwback Thursday: The Saint’s Serene Cure by Debasish Mishra

Editor’s note: The idea that the saint in this poem is probably not that saintly intrigued me, as did the message that people want to believe that someone they revere is good, no matter the cost. It was and is a different kind of poem for FTM, and I think you’ll find it thought provoking. This originally ran in July 2021. (Kate)

Patients thronged in long queues

dreaming to defer their death

one by one they took out their shoes

and entered to buy some breath

Some trepidation,some agitation,

and the usual yells of pain

and the wishes made in devotion

maybe not to visit again

“'Why do you need a doctor

when prayers can heal every sore,”

the saint would say like an actor,

“I have with me every cure.”

“Just close your eyes,” he'd tell,

and splash some ash on the brow

or ring his old rusted bell 

to draw milk from a cement cow

He had some sleight of hand

some tricks to gather belief

to make an apple from sand

or find a rose in a leaf 

That was enough for the crowd

to travel miles and come

to the saint and chant aloud

his name like puppets dumb

Even when a patient died

it little affected their clan

“Our saint had truly tried,”

they said, “Twas God's plan.”


Bio: Debasish Mishra has co-edited an international anthology of poetry entitled Timeless Love. His recent poems have been published in North Dakota Quarterly, Penumbra, Star*Line, and elsewhere. A former banker, as of July 2021, he was pursuing his PhD at NISER, India.

Image by Ramez E. Nassif.

⭐️ Keep your reading calendar open for March 26, when Lissa Sloan's Glass and Feathers debuts on Amazon. The Enchanted Press is publishing it.⭐️


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