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by Kinshuk Gupta

Immunodeficiency of Love

But why did God do this to me is my first question.

Perhaps this is how he tickles the goat's brisket

before her halal. As the virus ties me upside down,

I watch the goat's eyes. The butcher’s rusted tongs

on her head. For my dose is the recurrent dream

of a ship blistering the sea with hot oil.

I remember the doctor's drawl when he declared

me positive. That I can live long if I tether

on hope. I am tired of bleating for pastures of love.

Desires wane as the fat casing dissolves from my bones.

Sitting in the lotus position, I inhale days spent

watching the black sky—how that star throbbed

in pain, and we prayed for it till it turned into

a blackhole. I exhale memory—your absence

is an incision that bleeds, but doesn't stop heartbeats.

The good thing about a disease is that it reminds

us that love, like goats, comes with counted breaths.

But only after our skins are addicted to the touch

of tapered fingers. I press my ears against the blisters

of love to listen to desires crepitating inside them,

until the residues of hope are doused in me

as the fear in the goat's eyes.


Kinshuk Gupta uses the scalpel of his pen to write about his experiences as an undergraduate medical student. He was longlisted for the People Need Change Poetry Contest (2020) organized by The Poetry Society, UK. His haiku have been nominated for the Touchstone Awards and the Red Moon Anthology. His work can be read or forthcoming in The Hindu, The Hindu BL, Times of India, The Quint, Inklette, Rattle, Modern Haiku, Haiku Foundation, Contemporary Haibun Online, among others. He is a blogger for Times of India and a Creative Writing Intern for Posham Pa. He edits poetry for Jaggery Lit and Mithila Review.


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