Drawing by Elham Rahmati

Abhishek Anicca is a writer, poet and performer based in Patna, India. He identifies as a person with locomotor disability and chronic illness, which shapes his artistic endeavours. His first book, The grammar of my body : A Memoir (Penguin Random House India) releases later this year.

I wrote a song for a withering flower on the balcony, without knowing what beauty is.
A man stood inside the mirror in my room, measuring corners of fat on my chest.
We played hopscotch; you said I could use both legs if one of them was dead.
Love murmured confessions, you were the rhythm, I was a song, in spring.
A video playlist discovered me on the internet, forcing me to practice stoicism.
I met three hundred people online pretending to be a Nobody under Emily’s watch.
My friend realized not everyone uses the sound of tch every time they meet a cripple.
News. The literary criticism of my legs wrote a poem, ranting about the winter weather.
I have deleted thirteen long slow-motion videos that I had shot from my hospital bed.
A person on a fetish site said if I was the last man alive, they would choose death.
Between American and British English, I prefer the beauty of the word unmade.
You say Umami, I feel guilty of watching food videos without losing any weight.
The ongoing research exploring the effect of light on my pee has kept me busy.
I often wonder what eulogy you will write for me now that we live in different cities.
A dog waits to adopt me, a cat awaits my betrayal, a rat sleeps peacefully in my room.
The world is ending, and all I can worry about these days, are things that remain unsaid.

Hephaestus by Abhishek Anicca

Returning the gaze

Wrapped in black plastic, a month of used diapers,
claiming to be everyday waste, checking
myself for leakages.
Pretending to be stuck in traffic, half waiting
on the threshold of the toilet, not lying,
preserving small truths for myself.
Uninstalled on dating apps, being vulnerable,
being sexy, being foolish, a night’s jarring
taxi ride, and words of regret.
I am the city of shame.
Fearful of getting out of the house, returning the gaze,
waiting to tell my whole story, perhaps they
will change, things will be alright.
An immigrant at home, always making failed plans
to travel, yearning to be someone else,
a bucket list full of empty rooms.
Imagining, dreaming, a concoction of what ifs and
things that could be; a wheelchair, a jet,
good friends, or few convincing lies.

Returning the gaze by Abhishek Anicca