Wish Unrequited

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

                                                                              Vishakhapatnam, India

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