Sand - Poem by Jay Alexander
I'm standing in the lobby of what looks
Like a Dubai 5 star hotel, but is in fact a hospital.
I should be familiar with it, I built it.
At the time I didn't know much
About hospitals, indeed, I needed help with
The specifications. My speciality is factories.
They wanted something that works seamlessly,
So they picked me. I chose the site myself.
It is located 10 kilometres from Mosul in a village
Totally destroyed during the war and then
Abandoned. We razed what was left
And built from scratch. I don't remember
The war, I was born much later.
What we learnt about it we learnt in school
In Baghdad, where I come from.
To my generation,
It seems absurd that such a war
Ever happened, it made no sense then,
It would make even less sense now.
We are in a new era,
And this place the living proof.
This is my first visit here,
Since inauguration one month ago.
The only inkling you would have that
It's a medical facility are
Men and women in white coats passing
Through the lobby or mingling with visitors.
You will occasionally see some nurses
Too, distinctive in their retro-style
Uniforms that seem out of American
1950's and 60's tv soaps. Funny how
Fashion repeats itself. You won't notice
Any patients though, they're all
Exclusively in the " factory " area.
As I look around admiring the lobby,
I hear a familiar voice,
It's the Director's. He's
Accompanying an international
Delegation visiting the hospital.
He calls me over
And introduces me to the group.
They all clap vigorously when he informs
Them I've recently been awarded the
Pritzker Prize in architecture.
As I have an imminent meeting
I say goodbye to the Director and visitors.
Three hours later I board a large drone,
Taking me back to Mosul. Looking down
On desert sand I reflect on life, and
How it has shifted, even for me.
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