"I understand what it’s saying to me now"
Photograph by Tammy Pineda (https://www.instagram.com/tnpineda/)
it begins with a kind of numbness in my hands
not the fingers so much
as the palms -
thenar and hypothenar eminences;
some mysterious conduit of all my bodily pain
that no textbook has taught me.
Sometimes I feel like the illness mocks me
when it says look:
These are your hands
the source of all the things that bring you joy
your life saving skills
when you percuss and auscultate
and draw with a scalpel over the skin of
your patients, people who put their life in
These same hands
that will also cause you pain and suffering
and make you believe you deserve it.
Every time they go numb
Remember that your life is about to
for a week
maybe a month
and you will be locked out of this body of yours
not knowing what you did wrong and
blaming everything from the gods you don’t pray to
to the calloused child you wanted to rip out of
your life with the same hands you cover your
mouth with when you scream into the night.
Sometimes I fight back and tell this illness that
I am bigger than it, stronger than it, made with the
blood of matriarchs who bowed their heads to
Sometimes, and increasingly often, I look at my hands
The same hands, always
that are numb yet throbbing with a lifetime of hidden
away hurt, and all I can manage to say is
Meghna Anil Nair is a doctor, writer and poet. She co-founded The Open Culture Collective, a digital literary journal dedicated to highlighting work by underrepresented writers and artists. She lives in Chennai, India, and spends her free time watching football.
Read other published work: https://www.allearsindia.com/weekly-publications
Edited by: Rachel Blair (https://www.instagram.com/broken_barbie26/)