Praniti Gulyani

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The Anatomy of Pain

you begin by teaching me –
about wafer-thin bones and agonized nerves
that have turned so blue, it hurts
to only look at them, and then you show me hearts
which have been frozen, stocked-up
caked with a sugary-silvery crust
of emotion, and brains encompassed
in a bubble, a jelly-like blob
of entangled, entwined, confused thought
you continue by teaching me –
about skulls, and you show me
the splintered skull of a newborn
patterned with bullet-holes
picked from the greyness and dustiness
which is, as they say
‘the legacy of war’
thereafter, we pass through the spirals
of patience, that branch into
resilience and courage, coated with
a cloak of dust, that falters
on the quivering shoulders of these paths
and covers the palms
and bruises the knees
of those, who can no longer sit atop
cold, metal chairs and bend and bow
their eyes dripping with tears
their lips dripping with prayer
on white bedsheet
or, at times, tucked into their folds
I find ailing pauses, picked from
that uncertain valley between life
and death, most gasping and some
reaching out, plucking bits of breath
molding it into thin strips, placing it
between clenched teeth, and
beneath shriveled tongues, while others
chose to let life slide
onto the carvings on their palm
and slowly, but surely
it skids away

and in the whimpering hues –
of the dewy, yellow light

with white and grey fingertips
tied together with
this tumor-like tightrope

I decipher
**********the anatomy
of pain

Editor’s Note:
I love how a narrator, perhaps a medical intern meanders through the halls of what seems to be a hospital, through a “valley between life and death,” and learns about pain in the most visceral way. So much is shown, and nothing is told, a hallmark of a good narrative.
Praniti Gulyani, a seventeen year old poet from India.

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