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Utkarsh Mani Tripathi

The poem was first published in The Aleph Review, Vol. 6 (2022).

My head is a jar of bolognese

My ear is a cornucopia, my

Eyes empty conches that roar

Of the sea, silt and salt, my

Nose is two furrows unearthed

By conniving moles, and

My jugular is a national highway

Riven in angry blares and

Given to excesses of mania

My hair parts in the middle of

My skull and divides history

Into the greyish and the white

Epochs. My clavicle is a porcelain

Bridge, stretched across my shallow

Chest, which nestles and jostles

Above Jupiter’s storms contained

In my belly. My celestial rump

Pulses like a distant star, and carves

Into my knee, surreally sharp,

And my calves are a silent mystic

River. My nails house the fragments

Of my enemies, and the bridge of my nose

Supports military transport. Once in

A while I like to fantasize about my back

This sashaying caricature of sand dunes

Frayed fabric on my spine. If a miniature

Adventurer were to travel on me, I would be


And pray it away, take a deep breath, O traveller

And leap and soar above

And tell me if you can see the blemish

The sunburn, the sand-graze or the thousand cuts.

Artwork by Qurutulain Dar


Utkarsh Mani Tripathi is a poet from New Delhi, India. He contributes articles on culture for The Punch Magazine and frequents poetry circles in Delhi and Hyderabad. He also moonlights as a student of law and the humanities.

About the featured artist: Qurutulain Dar, born in a small city of northern Punjab, attained successive scholarships throughout her undergraduate years at the College of Art and Design, graduating with distinction in 2019. Since then, she has participated in several physical and virtual shows, including at O Art Space, Full Circle Gallery, National Museum of Tanzania, Dominion Gallery, The World Bank Resident Mission, Islamabad, Zaaman Art and Khamsa Art. Through her realistic art with its surrealist undertones, she blurs the line between fact and fiction and creates a reality of her own which questions belief systems and explores dense internal human desires and conflicts. The artist currently lives and works in Lahore.

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