By: Ayush Pandit

My blood is not pure.
Siphoned through custom it puddles as an unholy poison. 
A mixture between castes that courses sin through my veins
Broken tradition seeps through my marrow
and pools black in the hardened pupils of my grandmother
every time my parent’s marriage is brought up.
16 years, 2 grandchildren, 8,000 miles and still
her wounds scar enough that tears bleed from her eyes
whenever her mind fades into the past and my father’s betrayal
the betrayal I am borne from.
Ritual binds her in barbs as my first new memory
of my grandmother I have not seen in 10 years is a gesture to my father
then her averting her gaze as he pulls me from the dining room 
and explains how time has turned discrimination into a tradition, Grandma’s tradition
that my existence is a splatter spilled outside the lines of scripture she follows
that I am split between castes with my mother, that to my grandmother, I am unclean.
Rules scald through my skull and dye my memories
I cannot taste the same dishes,
I cannot use the same plates,
I cannot drink from the same cups,
I cannot eat with my grandmother, because I am unclean
because though her faith overpowers our bonds in hemoglobin
it feasts off our blood sacrifice.