Tulips by Tammy Pineda

The Daily

Columns & Archives

Along with the daily feature articles from our columnists, read works from our past contributors in the categories of prose, poetry and visual art, alongside interviews and other musings.


I Understand by Meghna Anil Nair

"I understand what it’s saying to me now"

Photograph by Tammy Pineda (https://www.instagram.com/tnpineda/)


The illness,

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 art

your poems

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

your hands.

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

fall apart

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/)

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All