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Flame -- poetry by Kartvya Ratate

I close the bathroom door,

And turning on the music

To the highest volume,

I watch them getting

Engraved on my bones:

The rhythms

Punctured with indelible inks,

Of guilt and shame,

Like the tattoos

Over the wrists and chests

Of the prisoners.

I heat the water,

And watch as the bucket fills,

And then, how the scalding water runs

Over my body,

Melting my skin, bruising it,

The colour of a dead flame.

Numbness takes over me,

The nerves burning.

Still, I can see them,

Just as they were earlier,

How foolish I was to think

I could escape them,

All this guilt and shame.


Kartvya Ratate is a fifteen-year-old high school student studying in India. He likes reading, writing and daydreaming about his future job. When he is not occupied with these things, he likes cuddling his pet bunny Oreo. He is an ambitious and hardworking person with a very poor sense of humour. He hopes to make a difference in the world through his writing.

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