shrestha singh


It’s initiation day.

The scintillating fire mesmerizes

The members huddle around these tantalizing embers

We band of broken, branded brothers and sisters

“For he who sheds his blood with me…”


The gang leader angers an iron rod by twirling it loosely in the fire

Flirting with the sparks, the wand seems to make magic

I already know, by the way the end of the rod lovingly fondles the fire,

That the love it shows my forearm will be inconceivable


Wait –

Throaty, inhuman wailing erupts,

From my mouth? Cannot be…

Turns into

Blubbering, shrieks

Turns into

Weeping, whimpering

Turns into



I was mistaken in thinking the end of the metal's kiss would provide relief

Its lips peel back from corrupted, non-skin, stealing some of the crisped meat as they part

I bite down, sharp gasp

Air forces its way in,

Floods through windows in my clenched teeth

The harsh air around the wound attacks its damaged fibers

Like frosted wind pinching pneumonic lungs

The cells are no longer shocked by the severity of the assault

They are now simply screeching

In shattering white agony

Blinded, they bellow and purge

And the opening near my wrist releases its contents

A dark sunset of fluids flow forth


And then the smell


My nostrils binge on the acrid smell of

Blood and burning flesh

But my stomach demands to heave and

Reject it all

The putrid stench clouds my brain, which was

Already fogged by the pain receptors’ uproar

Already mourning the fated skin cells, the ambushed warriors



My brain frantically prioritizes the systems

And cuts some loose


My stomach does heave

Its spilled contents mix with the muddy red dripping from my arm


The tears overwhelm their crevices, and escape my eyes’ brims

And join the garbled pool on the ground

Without them, my vision is no longer blurred and, bent over, post-retch,

I see it.

Swirled painting before me

Concrete lapping up all that my body has thrown overboard


And then I see IT.


Where the metallic leech had feasted

A galaxy of colours swarm its putrefying boarders and

The center festers menacingly,

Sizzles, audibly sizzles,

Bubbles up in rage, and belches up more slime

Monstrous. Grotesque.

I fear this infuriated wound will lash out at me

I cannot look at this -

This repugnant perversion of delicate tissue


I heave again, nothing left


My body begins to shut down,

A numbness beckons me,

Engulfs me


I am branded.