Seema Reza

HELP

Tell me what you know about dismemberment.
—Bhanu Kapil


I know the sharp curve of the boti
its iron feet held down by calloused flesh
on the concrete floor of a hot kitchen

I know how it feels to have a heart cleaved
by the choice between comfort and desire
to have feet in more places than I have legs
To feel torn and made whole
by the same sharp thing
my tongue keeps thirsting for

I know the silence of surrender
once I’ve agreed to brutality
know how to work to break even
and feel unsatisfied

my children cut from me
their hungry mouths and hands
reaching as they recede

I know what it is to let someone
cut my voice from my throat
and leave my smile intact

  
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