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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 183 words
By Aruni Wijesinghe

Kidney-shaped Pool

Cancer took your right kidney. The surgeon left 
a three-inch scar on your lower abdomen. I want 
to see the scar, ask you to lift the hem 
of your black T-shirt so I can tap on the door 
where your kidney made its final exit. I say 
my swimming pool at home is kidney-shaped. I imagine 
the space where your kidney once made its home, curled 
like a bean in your belly, cradled by the warm pulse 
of you. I imagine a swimming pool, glimmering 
in the dark red world of your insides. I want to drop 
pennies into your kidney-shaped void, watch 
each coppery coin drift to the bottom. I dive 
into you and retrieve each penny, line twenty-three cents 
on the edge of your kidney-shaped pool. I trace 
the scar that marks the escape hatch, forever sealed, ask 
Does that hurt? Can you feel that? You drop 
your hand over mine, halt the journey of my fingertip. 
The scar is numb, you say, but I can feel that. 
I can feel everything.


Aruni Wijesinghe
Issue 14, August 2022

is a project manager, ESL teacher, occasional sous chef, and erstwhile belly dance instructor. She holds a BA in English Literature from UCLA, an AA in dance from Cypress College, and a certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from UC Irvine.

Aruni is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet whose work has been published in journals and anthologies both nationally and internationally. In 2020 she served as guest editor of Redshift 5, an anthology of pandemic-themed poetry (Arroyo Seco Press). In 2021 she co-authored The Undulating Line: Writing Poetry Through Belly Dance (Picture Show Press), a collection of essays, poems, and writing prompts that explores the connection between dance and the poetic impulse. The book 2 Revere Place is Aruni’s first solo full-length collection of poetry and is a love song to her family and her miraculous childhood in New York (Moon Tide Press, May 2022).

She lives a quiet life in Orange County, California with her husband Jeff and their cats Jack and Josie. You can follow her writing at www.aruniwrites.com.

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