Harisharan Pariyar | June 2, 2020

Scissors run along the stitch
at times left
at times right
at times up
at times in a semicircle
create a recognizable shape

Racing across the map of the world
they can create the shape of a country
Dancing along a swathe of cloth
they can produce a dhākā cap
or in a kurta-pyjama
the shape of a national flag

Using them
my ancestors
for eons covered society’s shame
For eons they kept cutting through
the hunger for life

unaware of their own sharpness
the directors of the untouchable life
came to be guided by fingers
the boundaries of fate were gradually drawn
and the velvet perspiration was stolen from our hands

Today I know
if scissors become as inhumane as the rest
the clothes of shame can be cut
the human image can be cut
fingers can be cut
hands can be cut
what’s to stop the national flag from being cut?

From the 8th Volume of La.Lit: Translations from the Margins.

Translated by Manjushree Thapa

Image from Unsplash

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