‘Cutting Carrots With Glass’ by Sharda Patasar


(bpm: as the clock ticks)


Dear Mr. Glass, I wondered about Einstein. For years.

I wondered about the violins

I wondered,

Why the beach?


One Two Three

One Two Three

One Two





Between my toes.

Grains? Footprints? Sea gulls? Waves?

I’ll wager it was the waves.


My father sat me down to count.

We began in fours.

He said

even numbers were easier.

He said

I must keep firm time.

He said

I must do it without the instrument.

He said

my body must feel it.

Tick tick tick Ting!

I felt the weight of the rod.

We laughed.

one two three four

one two three four

He was right, father of mine. But it was the odd ones that I felt in my body best.

one two three

one two three

one two one two three

one two one two three.

We laughed.


Firm time. The odd ones brought us full circle. Perfectly.


Three times four equals six

Five times four equals ten

Seven times four equals fourteen.

Who knew it could be?

That time could be –



Did you know that I cut carrots that way now?


Inside the glass box my mouth up against a mouthpiece, I must breathe in time.

Who knew?

That time

could be

That time could be


That lungs were bound to time.

That you tested capacity

in time.




I expanded.

I contracted.

The claustrophobia subsided.


I was keeping time again in my father’s study.


They kept at it.

Me inside that box, expanding contracting expanding contracting until they said,




I cut carrots that way now –

in time.


It was all in my head they said.

After all the boxes and mouthpieces and monitors.




Three circular circles. Not perfectly perfect. They would do.

The blade sets its sight on an end and it goes,

a small gushing, crushing sound bringing me to a finale.


And again



water, vegetable, steel.




Not blowing up.



one two three four five six seven eight

(the clock ticks, remember? Right here. Right now. Firm time.)

The entire vegetable, reduced to geometric shapes, just the way it should be.


to circles

to semi-circles

to rectangles.


They cut music that way, like carrots.


When the chef tells me I do it wrong

I scream at him, “It’s my bowl!”


Should I not be allowed near the knife?

Should I


(The clock ticks)


Sharda Patasar is a Trinidadian writer, director, and musician with an interest in cultural studies. She was recently appointed an independent senator in the 12th Republican Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.


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