Mouthguard

Brinda Gulati


I dislodge a plastic copy of the map of my mouth from the clay mould of my teeth—

fit these teeth like an old man’s mouthless mouth touching my gums,

perfectly measured to fit the sharp carnivorous edges of the enamel.

How strange to know morning and night by the yellowing of the plastic teeth

and where they need to be put back

in the purple library of the mouthguard’s

box.

The roof of my mouth is so easily

duplicatable

and yet I still can’t find the words to tell you

that I have stopped missing you

because the voice is stuck on my nightstand,

in a set of plastic teeth,

held together by a cheap plastic mould to protect them—

And I’m jealous of their resting place

because my dreams

are not so easily moulded in clay

and I can’t open a purple box to dislodge them

from myself.


They stay with me, even when I know it’s

time

to wash off the day-old sticky chocolate

using the tips of my fingernails.


My teeth have a twin.


Do you think it will help if I could peel off my skin,

leave it to rest for the night?



Poker Face by Istrahat W. Bhatty

 


Brinda Gulati has two degrees with a first class honours in creative writing from the University of Warwick. Her writing is an unlikely marriage of reconciling her Westernisation with her Indian body and space. Her nonfiction and poetry has found homes in The Sunday Times UK, HOOT Review, and Berfrois Magazine, among others. Her works can be found at www.brindagulati.com.

















About the featured artist: Istrahat W. Bhatty is a practicing interdisciplinary visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan.


She graduated with honours from the College of Art and Design, University of the Punjab, and has been the recipient of other awards as well. Istrahat has participated in several shows with prominent art galleries like VM, Taseer, Ejax, Seven Studio, Hamail, Nairang and Alhamra Art Gallery. She also participated in a satellite show for the Lahore Biennale 2020, as a team member and participant of Karbath Art Residency.


Bhatty trained with an international SAARC delegation and has subsequently delivered several training workshops for UN women, ILO, WDD Govt of Pakistan, and the US Embassy Cultural Affairs in collaboration with APWA, as well as at Faiz Ghar. She has also worked for the CARE Foundation. Currently, she is working as an assistant professor at the Institute for Art and Culture (IAC).


Bhatty’s work has developed through numerous experiments and techniques. Since 2014, she mainly practices in the medium of pinning by amalgamating it with different mediums. Her work is thematic; each piece bears its own character and idea.



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