• Editorial

So Shall You Reap

I see her writhing in angst again

She quotes the raven ‘Nevermore’

In all my years as a Reaper I-

Have never felt so welcome before.

Her eyes are sunken, eye sockets grey

So breathing corpses, too decay

She puts a silicone under one side

Of a perfect blouse, covering away

Her left breast shrunk.

She ties a scarf over a balding head

Looks in the mirror and hates herself

The pitiful stares written for her today

Make her shiver more than agony does

I relish the sense of foreboding she has.

Her fear of death is delicious.

Behind her shelf are morphine pills

She pulls out three and pops them in

My gaze falls to her blackened skin

Charred and sunken with radiation

I see hungry crabs all around it

Feasting on her life’s core

Thanking them for their contribution

I proceed to titillate my greed

My favourite part is revelation

‘You die today’ I announce to her

‘I saw you coming’ she says to me

‘But I can’t leave right now,

Lest my daughter be

An orphan all her life so please’

I smile at her viciously.

I like that she is scared of me.

I take her by the hand and pull

She screeches and struggles, begs me to leave

She cries. She screams she doesn’t want to die

Calls out to her daughter one last time

But the daughter doesn’t come today

Maybe because it’s study time.

‘It was her,’ I tell her.

‘Your daughter summoned me.’

She pulls back. Reading truth from lies.

‘And so she did,’ tear drenched eyes

‘Take care my love’ she screams aloud

As her diseased lungs fall out.

Thud! On the ground, here lies she

Her hearing I know is functional still

Still mumbling, her voice is shrill

She writhes at my feet

And I know by the light in her eyes

That flashing in them

Is her short life

Marriage, violence

Two abortions forced

An angel-like daughter

An unfair divorce

Hospital lights, sweet morphine

The inside of an MRI machine

Her wailing eyes are filled with pain

She knows she cannot do it again.

Yet she is not ready to say goodbye.

Manic now, she holds on to life

With all she has got.

I tell her a story to help her sleep, I tell her:

On my way from a farmer’s suicide

I heard your daughter’s morbid sigh

‘I have my board exams tomorrow

I can’t think about hospital bills

I can’t rub her ankles and

Fetch for her those morphine pills.

While she is yet high on drugs

I can’t hold her in empty hugs.

And now she is screaming again

Why do I feel she’s feigning pain?

Oh God she’s loud

Calling out my name.

Again and again

I’ll go insane

Or maybe I already have

I’m sick of her being sick all the time


Last night, she hurled curses at me

After our weekly hospital trip.

Well I curse her back.

I know she missed

Her chemotherapy

I know it was

‘cause of my school fee

I know I should feel shame and guilt

But feelings have stopped existing for me.

She is always so loud.

At me, she takes her anger out

I wonder if she is faking it

To make me feel blue right now

I do feel so blue right now

She is in pain, and I think somehow

She wants me to suffer too

I wish….she would just go now

I think it has been long due.’

And of all the wishes your daughter had,

This one came true.

Wish for something with rueful passion…

And dead. Her black eyes are now ashen.

I leave the house with new death earned

Though it won’t be long before I returned

I will be back to help her daughter decide

Between sleeping pills and a good old knife.

Aishwarya Srivastava


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