07: The Body - July 2021

Atlas Slips

The first cervical vertebra is called the atlas

 and it holds up the skull
Beneath our feet, Atlas shifts and grunts
 trembling under the weight of the heavens nestled where his neck melts into his shoulder

The funny thing is there is nothing holy here hidden in our skulls
Amma drowns our house in incense and wafts curling smoke into my face from a plate of fire
Blessings and purification, she says as she spins from room to room 
in a swirl of scarlet silk and bone white jasmine 

She tells me I'm too sad, she tells me it's my own doing, 
she smears sandal and kum kum onto my forehead like she could cleanse my mind like this room

Don't worry, Amma

I've strangled my demons in the dark and made sure to do it silently 
Just as I've been taught
There is nothing holy here, true, but there is nothing else here

-Sudiksha Karthika

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