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Editor's Commentary on 'Jaundiced Smile'

 , April 03, 2015

We have chosen to include Dr. Sinthiya Punnialingam’s personal commentary along with her poem, so reminiscent in its haunting austerity and sober mood of Emily Dickinson, to provide the reader with insight into the clinical work that inspired the piece. While Dr. Punnialingam did not intend this comparison, when I pointed it out to her in the editorial process, interestingly, she told me that she agrees with the observation and now opines that what guided her author-instinct was the sense that the medical community uses complex and often inaccessible language, and so in reaction, she chose to write with austere simplicity. What proceeds is a poem that reads in form and tone like one might imagine the severe whisper of a ghost, harsh and alluring.

Rachel Hammer