Spineless

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We deconstruct our realities
To jigsaw pieces and execute reductionism
In spite of horrors of our yesteryear.
Pieces that with time become distorted, edges warped
And color jading from painted surfaces.

We carry spines or quills of our own past
On our backs as thick keratinized skin
Like a porcupine does. And still, some people
Are always hedgehogs, thin spines, soft skin, cuddly,
Lacking roughness in surface, and steel within.

The pain grottoed inside of me, searches to grow spines
Over my dorsal vertebrae, to become a porcupine
And yet, a baby hedgehog lives inside my heart
Like a treasure that can only be reaped
From softer, shorter, spines, wooly skin and the innocence
Of a child that will rest forever invisible to the beholder;
Still bearing an endless supply of kerosene
To the iris lanterns from where the conscience looks
– and witnesses – to move mountains
And crumble ramparts.

Perhaps one day, my exterior will turn into a porcupine
A citizen of the world, street-smart, market-savy
As indomitable as granite, yet I will know deep down
I will be carrying the tonnage of my spines
Where it matters most;

– my still hedgehog heart.

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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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