Speak The Mag

Letter from the Poetry Editor

Has cruelty ever saved you? – “Questions for my body” by Eduardo C. Corral

If you are in pain, especially chronic pain, one way to relieve it is to become aware of your body, the entire body. As you breathe in, choose to become the inside of your nostrils, your ribs, your belly. As you walk, become the soles of your feet, your knee joints, your hips. As you sip, become the coolness of water in your throat. Become aware of your entire body, for in the body there are always sites of rest and relaxation, not only of pain. Become mindful of these sites of respite. Breathe in this relief and carry it over to the sites of pain. Becoming aware with love and kindness has been neurologically proven to help!

Does the Earth live and breathe like our bodies do? If it does, then it must ache too. Go hungry. Heal.

If generations remain afflicted after the nuclear bombs struck Japan, apples still grow radioactive around Chernobyl, and the persistent use of pesticides turns the Malwa region of Punjab in India into the cancer capital of the country, then the Earth must be a living body, and have memory. Something bloodlike must flow to carry poison. Something bloodlike must flow to cleanse and heal.

Do you, sitting elsewhere, feel the aches of the men falling to their deaths at the Kabul airport, do you suffocate with the breathlessness of the thousands who lie buried in the Ganges without shrouds or coffins? Do you despair with those dying, wishing to die in Syria, Gaza, Ethiopia? Do their ghosts haunt the dreams your body dreams?

If the Earth is a body in pain, where is a site of respite today? Is there is nothing left to do but to feel the pain, to mourn in unison? Holding in the tears will hold in the pain. And if we, sitting elsewhere, can’t find respite ourselves, what love and kindness shall we carry to those writhing, within the sites of pain? The body’s language is memory. Silencing memories of trauma, wishing them away, or pretending that trauma is happening to someone else doesn’t help. It is the antonym of loving-kindness; it is cruelty.

And so, I ask you again, “Has cruelty ever saved you?”






Smita Sahay
meet the author

Smita Sahay

Smita Sahay co-conceptualized and served as Associate Editor of Veils, Halos & Shackles - International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women (Kasva Press 2016). The anthology has received critical appreciation in press and literary journals and is currently [...]