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Wednesday, January 14, 2015


by Ranjani Murali

Ink, Blood, and Tears, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

As if water dripping into
            the steel sink, bleaching

our brushes white, scoring the floors
            of our glass-doored office /

as if the vein of our favorite fountain
            pens (the ones that dug into

our index fingers while we caricatured
            old art teachers with balding

heads) had been spliced, spurting forth
            ink-splotched faces, the aphorisms

we drew in bubbles, their blood-vowels /
            as if bullets we drove into the walls

of easels, blithely / as if specks of flesh
            carving out their wounds, sinew

torn in watercolor, shards of glass painted
            in felt-tips / as if the tilt of our

mouths in these scenes, the seconds we
            almost smiled between smearing

steeple-minaret-altar as if wings / as if
            hierologists of tomorrows,

revealing our schisms, our compositions
            in grays and whitespace/ as

if ours, a name stenciled on drywall, on
            acid-free paper, beneath our

benedictions, beneath the as if / as if
            beneath the /  if  /

Ranjani Murali received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University. Her poetry, nonfiction and translations have appeared in Pratilipi, Phoebe, elimae, Kartika Review and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2014 Srinivas Rayaprol Prize and has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and the Vermont Studio Center.