Avinab B. Datta

The Surgery


For your sixth birthday you were given a tour of an amputated
government hospital. Mother of skull cracked by vanilla-flavored
candlebrick on the gurney baptized it with slow, even in near-death,
humble regurgitations. What of the odd desire to pick up the scalpel
and go straight for the doctor’s gulping throat, even before he could
try and resuscitate her… praying to the clear bowl of terrified milk
at breakfast, that though ravaged our lips be allowed to touch the bowl
again, together, tomorrow. And in that surgical wait, dreaming and waking
through the faux white angels of aprons, in the scarred eclipse of you,
your hand across my beating shoulder-bone—wondering what you really
are, and therefore what I am, too, to love you, expertly severing the malignant
light you radiate, each time, even now. And the first adolescent sentence
of shame, sewing across my brain, its ineluctable meaning to haunt, last
a lifetime: In your destruction of me lies the loyal symbol.

AVINAB B. DATTA lives in Bombay and works in a farm on its fringes. In January 2015, he'll be joining the University of East Anglia on a Fiction Fellowship. He also edits nether, a small literary journal.