By Nikita Lalwani and Mir Mahfuz Ali

I am dressed in two bloods

like two women fighting over my body,

the loser to love me, the winner to die.

It has began the way all hurt begins -

inside a voice clogged in the heart.

People speak of words as though

They have such meaning:

Tight clusters of multi-lettered

Truth. I know otherwise, I

Have known it since my youth.

Unable to live in my many selves

I jump from one branch of me

to another like monkey in the deep jungle

without settling for one tree with ripe berries.

Climate, water, soil. These are

The clean, visible, markers

For living, if you are a plant.

When I came here I did not want

Something more. I was silent.

But burned like a bushfire,

yet nobody heard my mute-screams.

Should I cut my veins and ask the blood rivers

to dampen down the spirit of the fire?

If you know your place,

You can mark your territory.

For years I waited, listened,

Breathed heavily through

A thick seam of stitching,

So I could tell this story.

How I waited with a tune in my throat.

Here the air was thin as an icicle.

When the water had dripped from its tip

I'd find a note to sharpen a wider blossom in a feeling

turned out to be my voice that rose for rain.

Now I feel the same rain

On my face as you. I take 

Part in the same ritual receipt 

And delivery of the shared space 

We inhabit. Geography. 

We grew in a landscape hardy

like its climate

galloped along the mountain valleys

shaped by the spirit of the thick forest.

I live on a plot of land, an

Undertaking of square

Feet. I speak now, through

A fissure in the air, it

Allows me to complete

My thoughts. Now and then.

Become my burden.

My tongue feels heavy as iron.

It utters not a word out of my mouth.

The flag in my throat lost its nationality.

A cube of sorts, this place.

A perspex box from which to

Watch the world. Framed

By lines of equal length.

How long do I stand voiceless?

Silence has its own strength.

It can make the world quiver.

But I want to come home to myself.