A Tale of Truth

A tale of truth:

I was gift wrapped

in red vessels with green roots

with a soft flesh blanket,

cuddling me like coating wax

on museum sculptures of ancient art.

‘A Christmas present,’

I would call myself.

Birthed alongside pebbled bones and elongated brothers,

when she stretched her palms

to finger tips, reaching out to ink and paper

pages met poetry

I was like the bark of a rubber tree,

she tapped words and ideas off me,

sometimes using it to protest on paper, silently

A metal scale travels length in space.

A measuring tape, a weighing scale and a geometry box;

maths wasn’t her favourite,

it wasn’t mine either.

When the axis of the compass rooted its pointed tail

in the womb of my green roots,

scarring my boned body

I bled my vessels out,

her tears too were red.

Yes, it’s true minutes are made of seconds

and seconds are made of milliseconds.

Time ticks at its own time

But blood fountains don’t make

happy childhood memories.

It was like a dotted line:

a parade of red ants,

probably dancing to jazz.

It started like that but the compass had friends

there were scissors, syringes and blades

butter knives, egg beaters and potato mashers

kept around like spectators and gentle relatives

to play with the leftover corpses of my existence.

I lost my shape and colour.

Red and green, I was taught

were not meant to be together.

My greens felt like a mentally challenged octopus,

my reds like amoeba.

The toolbox was an excavation kit of experimentation

She was losing her organ to loneliness

But I puked my soul out that day

I was cut off from life with such ease

like switching off the cable

or forcing the mouth of a pen

with the cap down its throat.

Rivers of ink stopped flowing for a long time.

She did learn to write with her left hand

but the bruise stayed like permanent extended family members

like drenched memories

inked on skin

It was noiseless unlike the tear of paper

but tighter than the sliding down of a stubborn zip.

In the world of many lies,

amongst organs and poetry, once again

we lost another tale of truth.


‘I believe that we are breathing in the air of a country that feeds on bribery the way we feast on sweets on a festive day. A lot of conversations and deals are cracked under the tables. One such thing that’s making rounds as easily as clapping hands without noise is organ abuse. Human organs are treated worse than plastic bags and are sacrificed to worship the tag of child abuse and slavery. 

Through the poem, I would like to give the struggling organ (in this case being the wrist) a voice box and let it weave its tale through the torturous words. It also subtly stabs the right (write) hand that tries to protest. It shows the death of an organ, the death of a writer pointing out to the death of someone who protests with a pen.’

Words contributed by Aekta Khubchandani

Art: Shama Nair

Edits: Tanushree Baijal

Aekta Khubchandani wears the colour red on her head but loves to work in black and white. She is the author of the story “Together,” that has been printed in Mosaic: An Anthology of Short Stories. She also has her work featured in the Aerogram, Mad Swirl, Terribly Tiny Tales and the Quail Bell Magazine. She performs poetry, writes short fiction, page poetry, life articles and illustrates a few in ink and print. She is currently working on her novel.

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