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Breath-breath. Under. - by Gargi

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

The body tries to turn on the bathtub faucet. Its hands slip uselessly across the metal like a knife across a shiny plastic ball. You tell yourself it is the residual soap and wipe the body’s fingers against the dirty hand-towel.

You look at the body in the mirror. A not-quite-human-being with over-jelled black hair and dark, bruise-like eyes. You are not inside.

The tub is ready. The body dips its feet into the water. Little cold-shocks raise the hair on its legs. The body does not fit well in the bathtub. The bathtub is too round, the body is too awkward. The feet will not go under at the same time as the face. You stare at the moisture-cracked ceiling. You take a breath and let the body go under.

Hospital room...dirty mirror-lives...the metal crumples on you...cold and jagged...splayed jelly-fish limbs...your own leg-armed arm-legged eye-mouthed mouth-eyed inside-out upside-down body clawing at the buttons...every button is for Floor 17…

Breath-breath. Under.

Jail cell...whiteboard-faced nurses...morphine tube in your arm...1 drop 2 drop 3 drop 4 drop 5 drop 6 drop 7 drop 8 drop 9 drop 10 drop 11 drop 12 drop 13 drop 14 drop 15 drop 16 drop 17 drop. You rip the tube out...blood sprays like a child’s messy toothbrush painting…blood wall blood face blood blue hospital sheets...

Breath-breath. Under.

Hotel elevator...child-hands placed against the wall, seventeen palm widths wide...seventeen and seventeen then back place the eighteenth hand, it is swallowed...dark...handless child…swallowed and regurgitated by the shadows...

Breath-breath. Under.

Broom closet...Celtic kings-planar waves-surrealist movement-differential equations-World War II-matrices-postcolonial theory-intermolecular theory-urbanisation-Ancient Greek drama-leg muscles-new wars-aerobic respiration-fricatives and plosives-Platonian metaphysics-autarky“17. Who are you”, they want your name, you know. You do not know your name...the question stares at you with angry misshapen letters…the pen melts in your hand...your limbs are wooden sticks in lolly-pops, like your brain in a chemical jar tomorrow when you are dead… You do not know the answer…

Breath-breath. Under.

Exam room...walls with unsmiling faces...there is a gun on the table...faces of other people pasted on the know they have shot you, you put your fingers through the 16 holes in your stomach and they come out, red and elongated, on the other grab the gun...inside: 1 bullet, outside: your sticky fingers on the trigger…


By Gargi Sahasrabudhe

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