Writing A Story That Never Ends, poetry by Barnika "Ren" Guha at Spillwords.com
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Writing A Story That Never Ends

Writing A Story That Never Ends

written by: Barnika “Ren” Guha


When it rains, I think the gods weep for me–
Or is it too ambitious to think they would?
Wait, did I speak too loud?
If only my father could hear me now.
Water under the bridge, flowing through
the city where dreams are made.
What dreams? What passion? What lie
Did they tell you to bring you here?
The lie that made my father leave
Before my mother could spell out my name on
the soil of the river?
Not that she could spell, anyway,
Her mother had pulled her out of school
the day she was old enough to start picking rags at the
Garbage dump: her life reduced to what
she picked, pieces of herself in her small world of
trinkets, ill-placed, in a house of broken dreams.

But enough about my mom. The noose on her neck stayed
Twice as long on me than it did on her. No, that woman can rot in
the same hell she came from.
Speaking ill of your parents is a cardinal sin. Sins that can
be washed off if only you had a name that rolls off the tongue
like maggots infested in the child’s body lying in its own
muck, the worms crawling in and out of its skull
In a playground made of flesh
waiting for the municipality people to come clean it up.

But our names? Mine, the child’s, my mother’s?
Ours are the ones haunting the polished past that
our country boasts of.

That’s what we shit and eat and clean in the garbage dump.

I was ten.
Would you believe it if I said my own brother took
me by my arms on a school night to a dhaba near the highway?
He said, “be quiet. Don’t make a sound unless he wants you to.
Don’t try to fight. Your body is the only thing we have left to sell.
Don’t try to act smart.” The rancid smell of cheap liquor in his
Breath made me gag before the musk of unwashed bodies could.

Come next day,
I can barely keep my eyes open while they teach,
Something about our country and long-standing ideals
You couldn’t sell them as candy even if you tried.
So this is where propaganda begins–
White skin good, dark skin bad,
Prejudice clouds minds that are barely conscious of
Their own power.

And my power? My power is my body, earning bread for
Two of my sisters and my brother
And going to school bloodied and battered.
Skin peels off my body like paper,
I didn’t get a choice to think about life
Before diseased men pumped their seed into me
Before long, my brother, holding my arm
Dragged me out of school
Alarmed, someone will find out.

Broken dreams and broken bones,
Nothing but my body to call my own,
And in that body, the life I behold.
Oh father, if you saw me now, weren’t
You the first man that did me wrong?
The men keep coming until I start to show,
My brother said it had to happen,
He would take me to a doctor tomorrow,
Oh father, father would it be a sin,
If I took a knife
And carved a life
Out my skin?

If only my mother had the courage
To do what I have done, I wouldn’t
Have to choose between my life and my son.

If you ask on the streets,
Why we live fast and die young,
They’re going to tell you that life’s
Just a blink under the sun,
Just so you know, that’s a lie
We die because no one hears our cries.
Well, they do, they choose not to listen
Why would a whore’s cry matter
When you can’t accept her water?

So, where does it bring us today?
My dad left me, my brother sold me,
My son: I killed him myself.
In the circle of life, I think that’s
All I can say. Thrown around by men,
Under the bridge where it happens,
Life force slowly ebbs away,
Disease and unease, drugs pumping
Through my veins.

If you had to think about me,
You’d choose death over my life.

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