• Tarea Karunaratne

My Body is a Hovel and it's Raining

If my body was a playground, my shoulders would be a seesaw. My teeth — a sandpit, my wrists a set of swings. In the chill of dusk, or the warmth of dawn, I’d settle, and the echo of a midnight spent wringing my hands would be just that.

If my body was a circus, my back would be a trapeze. The knobs of my knees, a hall of mirrors and the skin on my ears, a grande finale. And when I wake up in a cold sweat wondering how I can be a better person, the clanging of the circus band will soothe the kick drum in my jaws, but the spit in my mouth is so thick I could use it as a tightrope, and sleep is the last thing on my mind.

If my body was the box office I’d be Edward Scissorhands and you’d be the Count of Monte Cristo. By which I mean I’d be in the corner crying and you’d be at the table monologuing — loudly. And when the credits roll, my legs — stone pillars, adorned in mosaics, would stay glued to the floor until your name rolls on by.

If my body was an orchestra — we’d be 18 people. (All playing off key.) I’d write to the press about my time at Juilliard despite never even having been in the building and we’d have champagne with every meal. My delusions of grandeur would keep me up and put you to sleep — a madness of two is nothing if not shared I guess.

When my body was a castle, we all lived in the armour, and left spit in each others’ food. And when the lines of succession were drawn, and the halls were emptied out, we packed each other up like gifts to be given to another home.

Now my body is a hovel, and nobody lives here anymore. I don’t have to think about the dust.

Or the mould on the walls and floors. When the rats gnaw a hole in the ceiling, I’ll turn my house into a pool. And when the water fills the kitchen, I’ll wear my stove as a hat. When the wind shakes the floorboards loose, I’ll wear those too. And when the sun looking down at the equator makes the wallpaper peel away — I’ll lick it back into place and then, hopefully, finally get some rest.


Check out Tarea reading her piece on the Kopi Collective Instagram page.