• 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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