Shadowed by acacia, the infirmary
stands apart from the ashram itself.
A salvo of harsh coughs interrupts
the sage in mid discourse, his face
contorted by the suffering of others.
The lack of ventilators has caused
many needless deaths, he concedes,

but hydroxychloroquine, a malaria
remedy used for years hereabouts
works very well in the early stages
if uncomplicated by co-morbidities.
He apologies for the medical jargon
then ushers us to a sombre pavilion
where the gravest cases lie sedated.

Tubing and gowns, blue as the sky –
the aspiration of multiple machines –
orderlies swishing in sterile slippers –
here heaven intermingles with hell.
Dipping hands in a fount of alcohol
and aloe vera, we return to the arbor.
Sing, poet, he said, of how to get well.

Douglas Smith, formerly a teacher of Anthropology at York University, is a homeopathic physician.and author of several books on alternative medicine. It is claimed (although Dissident Voice has no proof of this!) that Doug and his partner grow the best garlic in Haliburton County. Read other articles by Douglas.