Sanjyokta Deshmukh

Grovelling in Gravel

I remember when I was seven I grazed my knee in the playground. But the sheer prospect of tag turned the red that dribbled down my shin into just another colour in the rainbow. The pink slithered and stirred on my knee like a deposit of poster paint. So, I shooed the stained gravel.

And ran.

Even now I still have the scar. The pale sliver of silver from when my flesh hit the tarmac for the first time. When the breeze bit the wound, a hiss blew through the gap between my missing teeth. If you looked closely, you could have seen the blue streak of electric adrenaline shoot through the gash and into my smile like a route on an Underground map. Only now does it sting as if the bone was tugged through the slit.

My pain tolerance is much lower now.
If I fell today, I would sob.
That I am sure of.


Two Thousand and Sixteen

It all began when I was sixteen and my gums eroded and lips peeled back over my head. I
drifted into a place as black as the brain that leaked sap from its edges. You know you can
still see space even when your eyes are closed? You know you can still feel cold air even
when your skin has keeled over? I have been told that the stars are lighthouses I am not
bright enough to see. But the first thing I did when I was born was open my eyes. And then I
breathed. It all began when I was sixteen and I had to learn how to heave my eyelids from the
ground so that I could see a future in which I existed.


Sanjyokta 'Yukta' Deshmukh is a Welsh-Indian poet currently studying her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. She has previously been published in both print and online in the likes of Eclectica Magazine, The Everyday Magazine, Street Cake Magazine and more. She was also shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Day Competition 2020. Twitter: @sanjdeshk.