On a cold winter night
she lies curled up on the bed
her fingers peeking out of the bed sheet
fingernails pale and yellow, emanating a stench
red lipstick smudged off her lips,
mixed with blood trickling down her chin,
onto the floor, forming a stain on the carpet.
It will be hard to get rid of, she knows.
She gets up before the alarm rings
struggling to walk straight
dragging throbbing legs, sore feet across the floor
She sits on the counter, drinking coffee
legs crossed underneath
to stop the ache from spreading.
Every sip she takes, she tries to forget
memories of previous nights
drowned by the liquid swirling in the cup
and the sound of the metal stirring spoon
inside the ceramic cup.
She stands before the mirror, examining herself
dark shadows creeping under her eyes
before sunlight dawns in the sky.
She unbuttons her blouse
bringing her hand to her breast
stamped with the butt mark of a cigarette.
The other hand moves subconsciously
to the bite marks on her neck.
The scars are engraved deep within.
She stares into her own eyes, darkened to black.
Look closer. In those eyes lie buried a thousand shattered dreams.
two ebony streaks form on her cheeks
she mutters something incoherently
as memories of violent nights come flooding in
one loving, fond encounter doesn’t engender relief
Death appears like the only answer, even in her sleep.
She sits on the window sill, looking out
counting the number of strangers
as they walk past. She remains unnoticed
except at night when the moth surrounds the flame
seeking refuge in its warmth. She distracts herself
by looking out the window every time it happens,
wondering when the time will come
to roam around the streets as she pleased.
~ Sai Prasanna