Mother,

let us talk.

Lack of conversation renders the memory of your unusually textured voice useless,

doesn’t ring that tiny alarm in my head

anymore.

You once said

that the world never runs short of abstracts,

so let us talk about the sea.

Let me remind you first,

that the sea has no distinct color of its own, so we shall not let a convenient shade of blue

make us sad today.

For once, you and I,

we would not assume anything.

Not even the color of the sea,

or the number of bruises drying all over my body

since the very first day Father started hitting me with beautiful objects;

like that wooden comb you bought yourself from the local market, warm from the smell of your dry scalp.

 

Mother,

let us talk.

You once said

that there is no harm in going wrong every once in a while,

for accidents often end up landing you in wonderful places.

So let us talk about Sister’s nondescript bedroom,

and the time I walked in on her

moaning with the baggy tee shirt rolled up to her heaving chest.

For the very first time ever,

I was exposed to a womanly noise

so very different from your uncommon timbre,

and I remember the gooseflesh I was told to be forever ashamed of.

Mother,

it was the idea of an unmaimed body that surprised me that day,

one that did not require buttoned up sleeves or upturned collars

even in front of the water stained bathroom mirror,

I had stopped looking at it long back

as every morning came with a fresh scar.

 

Mother,

let me yell at you.

Let me yell at you for pretending that you never knew,

let me be angry at your sweating body for soiling our bed sheets

and at your unusual voice for becoming surprisingly musical

every time you mentioned your love for the man

who once hurled a paperweight at me for hiding his cigarettes.   

It was that very day, Mother,

when I burnt my fingertips trying to light a stolen cigarette

only to check if the aftertaste felt good enough to justify my new scar,

and Mother, I am ashamed to admit

that I also charred a patch of my new tongue the same day.

I thought it felt rather nice,

it was at least a variation

in the drab regularity of an everyday pain.

 

Mother,

let us die.

Let us die in the sea whose color we promised not to assume,

let the waves carry us far away from the smell of cheap nicotine

and the crude idea of a woman’s immaculate body

that I have always tried very hard to forget.

Mother, rock me to sleep this one last time

as we gently float in this pale,

sing me a song in that textured voice of yours

that surprisingly turned softer every time you lied to the man

I know you never loved.

Illustration by Reya Ahmed


by Satyaki Mitra

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