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My mother is one-fourth the woman she could be three-fourths the woman she had to be

my mother is decreasing

she tiptoes barefoot about the house to not make a murmur of her existence

my mother is contracting

she nibbles at our leftovers until the morsels choke the base of her throat

my mother is dwindling

she has a shadow that attempts to detach itself and a reflection that strives to crack open the mirror

my mother is shrivelling

she is a ghost wearing cheap moisturizer laden skin over appendages that rattle when she moves and heavy studded jewelry that weigh her down

my mother is condensing

she cries but within time slots to not allow the full throttle of her sorrow to manifest

my mother is recoiling

she stands at the the edge of family photos so that one of her limbs is always cut out

my mother is shrinking

she has an arched back that curls more inwards as she makes up space for us

my mother is a frail framework of brittle bones and tattered tissues

she has nourished this house with enough love to call it a home but every corner has shackles the size of her withering wrists

her larynx is a morgue with unsaid words rotting like unidentified cadavers

my mother is one-fourth the woman she could be three-fourths the woman she had to be

she abandoned her heels to not look taller than my father

when she passed on her unworn heels to me she asked me in jest to tower over her

so I excavated years of generational expectations from in-between her vertebrae and asked her to straighten her spine

I told her that I will always look up to her.

<a href="">Anushka Das</a>
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