The Body Distorts into a Manufacturing Defect

Kanika Ahuja

Pinocchio dreams of being a real boy. Strings unattached,

the body more than a cackle of unhinged joints. His want

binds like a promise, pixie dust settles in constellations

he cannot wipe off, a birthmark for virtue that markets itself

like a clause for humanity.

                                                  To prove herself alive, the girl pricks

her skin open, a wide eyed spectacle of blood, glistening like a speck

of light on the galactic expanse of the body. Masked in coagulation

– the skin repairs itself of sin, the blood a sacrificial stain on granite.


No beloved has ever held me close enough to find where

blades have touched this body, gliding through uneven ridges

on skin, slowing at no speed bump.

                                                   This is not a eulogy

for a body that scars too easy, breaks open like a pistachio,

the seed a peace offering for all the collateral damage.


On nights I cannot but feel like a fragment, I duct tape

the mirror in a patternless void. I am

                                                    afraid of all the eyes can remember, so

I unravel in slow motion. I’ve learnt to love this body only in pieces.

Kanika Ahuja is a poet, performer and educator of poetry based in New Delhi, India. She holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Ambedkar University, Delhi and has been a Jijivisha Fellow for Poetry at Slam Out Loud. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, and appears, or is forthcoming, at The Medley, Sidereal Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, Funicular Magazine and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @kanika0326.

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