Visiting hour

footsteps draw us nearer
an older hand
a tiny hand
and mine

the keening is becoming clearer
what is it that they’re saying?
‘will she be alright?’, they’re grabbing at my arm now
‘will Dr Chandra be alright?’

an ambulance officer bursts through the side door
running to the ambulance
he’s covered in blood
and tearing at the medicine box

the tide of keening carries us
around the corner
and through the front entrance
on, looking for our loved one

we’re herded into lock-down, with the patients
the Police scour the grounds
searching for the swift blade
that skewered the woman to the wall

we are disturbed
amongst the disturbed
hoping to disturb
that running blade

my arms protect the tiny
the elder, and the disturbed
but can’t protect my Self
from the brooding sense of danger

we’re shuffled around for hours
while the trackers track
the keeners keen
the runner runs

it all ends abruptly
they have him- that stabber
the skewered doctor is dead
and we are free to leave

and as we walk away
my heart rips from my chest and flies
to envelope my interned loved one
and in its place grows a rat-like gnawing fear…

© wildwomenlove poetry

Visiting hour


ADELAIDE, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

visiting hour at a psychiatric hospital, arriving five minutes after an out patient murdered his doctor in a patient visit. it was a slow dawning as we entered the ward to visit our loved one, my mum, my 5 year old nephew and me and we got caught up in the lock-down and the fear…

this happened a long time ago, I channeled the fear and the rage into writing letters to politicians to ask for better staffing, closed circuit TV monitoring systems, and panic buttons cos I couldn’t believe that this could happen to a doctor at work with a patient who was walking the streets, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done to walk away and leave my family member in there…thought it deserved a write…


Artwork Comments

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