The ATKT.in Cypher is an exclusive community of some of our favourite artists and talent across categories of artforms. 

For August’s ‘Open’ theme,  here’s the submission of Aditya Sinha from Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication Pune, a member from the ATKT.in (Poetry) Cypher. 

 

Not Ideal Dinner Conversation 

We are a family of six

And yet every meal at the table

Sounds like cutlery clanking

Filling in the tines of the fork

With murmurs of all my bad decisions

From their lips –

Like reverse eating.

(Pause)

10 seconds

(Pause)

The back of my eye stings

From going over them too fast

Like watching an hour long home movie

Fifteen times in two minutes –

The time when I broke four glass bottles all in a day;

The time I started failing more subjects than passing;

The time when no matter how hard I tried,

My words would limp to support my intentions.

As though when they were manufacturing jobs for people

They reserved me for ‘Family Disappointment’.

 

23 seconds

The inside of my head is that of a pressure cooker

I wonder if the rice grains think that smoke

Inside the metal walls is fog because

I cannot distinguish one thought from the other.

Cannot tell numbers from sound

Memories from maze

Reality from reality

Dreams from dreams.

 

41 seconds

The pace of my breathing quickens

As each breath of air mistakes itself

To be welcomed in my body

Like a fugitive thinking they can

Break in under the pretext of survival

I can only accommodate so much –

Can you not hear me say mid-gasps ‘NO VACANCIES’?

My lungs are averse to houseguests.

 

One minute 5 seconds

My lungs are averse to houseguests

But if you latch a door repeatedly

The end of the metal chips enough

To allow thieves inside.

No wonder my senses feel robbed of control

My gut is reaching for my mouth

My heart rate for the skies

My brain cells to the worst of conclusions.

 

Two minutes

My arms stiffen and clench to my sides

Like raisins beyond the point of hydration

I am made to trickle water down my throat

But what good does drilling for groundwater

In a desert do –

When my gills are replaced with knives

Every breath is a laceration

Pain is just information;

I am a fish fresh out of sea submerged in sadness

Too home to suffer

Too foreign to complain.

 

Three minutes 20 seconds

Too foreign to complain

Or maybe my jaw is locked tight enough

To not allow any words to escape.

But they keep asking me

Why are you not eating enough?

Why are you not eating enough?

Why are you not eating enough?

I struggle to tell you, mom

The inside of me feels like a Thanksgiving dinner

With rancid gravy and a pile of wishbones

And I am always holding the shorter end.

 

I fall laterally onto the floor

My X axis coinciding with the Earth’s

If the tremors between my fingers were to be believed

I could be a planet of my own.

 

Four minutes 58 seconds

I am finally a pistol, Dad, pretending to be all metal

But coated in gunpowder on the inside

Ready to combust at the slightest of triggers.

I slip out of consciousness

Under the weight of a broken household

I built on my own chest

My two hands too little to hold up

What is now only a cemetery.

 

Minus ten seconds

You tell me to shut up

Panic attacks are not ideal dinner conversation

I look down at my meal

Somehow I am more glass than this plate.

 

Minus five seconds

I want to say ‘listen’

Instead I stay silent

I want to say ‘It’s real’

I stay silent

Say ‘This’ Silence ‘Deserves’ Silence ‘Attention Silence.

I pick all the plates and sit under the sink

Patching whatever is left of my mind

With all your leftovers.