Lockdown Hospital Visit

I’m used to seeing my father’s frown—
he’s always been an angry sort of man.
He demands respect, silences others
and takes control whenever he can.

My father and I were never close—
there is a lot he hasn’t apologised for.
But now that distance is enforced:
we speak through glass; he shuts his door.

His tyrant touch has trickled to tenderness,
Each jolt of pain a jailor. My father is serving time
in a different way than I expected
and the NHS is his tailor.

Like snakeskin, a hospital gown hangs
from his thin body: a second, papery layer.
Scripture gripped between his cracked palms,
I’d never seen him so hell-bent on prayer.

He holds his swollen chest, limps
back to bed and blows me a loving kiss.
I am used to seeing my father’s frown,
but never for a reason like this.



Jay Mitra (they/them) is a non-binary punk poet, UK Slam Champion and music journalist based in Hull/Manchester. Born in India but raised in Yorkshire, they have spent their life merging two cultures into one five-foot body. You can find out more about them on Instagram and Twitter @punkofcolour.