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NaPoWriMo'23 Day Five: We are gift-wrapping the earth in plastic, but for whom

by Laura Ostrowski

Buried Alive in Plastic by Arya Mohapatra


Tangled with the acrid scent of burnt paper

and wasted sap,

the earth reeks of incinerated beauty


The oceans are confused today

they found out that the humans tricked them

into swallowing chips of concealed plastic


somewhere within,

a baby tuna knows it won't hear the echoes

of oxygen filtering through its gills

a penguin finds himself adorned with glistening

black fluid,

his eyes widen as he takes himself in,

he looks prettier today



We are gift-wrapping the earth in plastic

a red satin bow all around,

Its ribbons are dead eels dangling,

branches wallowing in the wind,

streamers of cracked polyvinyl chloride pipes,

punishing lungs of Pepsi cans.


Somewhere a young woman aged twelve

walks on hairpin triggers,

clutching bottles

that house a few millilitres

of abandoned orange soda

her plastic flip-flops slapping

against her heels

the soles worn.


The earth is wearing a dress into which

fabric is still being sewn

the bodice, the skirt, the hem

all glistening chunks of plastic in the sun

Nobody appreciates the creation

but they do not forget to

supply the raw materials.


If i tilt my body left, i might be buried alive in plastic.

Ocean is a terrible swimmer by Mohua Chakraborty

In a parallel universe

where pollution follows

the family planning scheme,

the sun hides earth's teenage

suicide note drenched in UV rays,

the ocean is a terrible swimmer

with heart clots inside crux gyres,

the soil holds surveys

for high illiteracy rate

candidates of which

are certainly non-biodegradable,

the sleeveless hands of the sky

squeezes those wet penalty sheets

that were excreted in

empty garbage cans

also devoid of nutritional trash.




is a limited anthem stuck

in between gritty teeth

and biotic organs are oblivious

to the increasing mortality

rate of abiotic daughters,

the animals digest four

squares of packaging syrup

three-fourths of which were

of single-use transparent shrouds




toxic lovers who weren't

dumped in open playgrounds

but separate perimeters that

could be named after their demise.

Oh, just remember,

this demise is ephemeral

like love at first dump

Silently scrolling through

hashtags of nature lovers with

tidbits of hazard maps nearby

as if all nature lovers are

environment friendly?

Choking impatience gets disciplined

in the chaos of biodegradable shrieks

while stripping off

it's combustible name


and burns the soil, the water, the air

with reverse osmosis of

incessant tears evaporating

at the rate of side-eyeing

the questionnaire curtains

per grade in EVS

highlighting important points

to gaslight its non-ductile tongue

and brittle lips hunted

in low temperatures and

pressure that forms

the fossils are incised

with them as souvenirs

We are left with the earth

gift wrapped in plastic,

but for whom?

Synthetic Mosaics of Regret by Taqee Syed

We gift-wrap our surroundings in synthetic mosaics of regret,

Yielding a garden of garbage, a bleeding field of despair.

Elastic bowers in backyards, springing lifeless blossoms and plastic petals.

We purpose our homes, in multipurpose Tupperware in shelves, expanding a legacy surpassing it’s supposed shelf-life.

A kaleidoscope of waste stains the earth.

polythene-ghosts floating through meadows, suffocating life.

Like a chameleon, it blends shape-shifting with ease;

Toxic parasites proliferating through our deep blues and purple pleasantries,

The sight of flea-begotten, rainbow wrappers, unleashing pandemonium on the horizon is not just an eyesore, but a full-blown carnival of debris.

A technicolour nightmare, a surreal dream,

A world transformed, or so it seems.

We wreaked a world where plastic waste reigns supreme, and consequences reached a point where a synthetic plague has flanked beyond its seams.

Like a mirage, it dazzles the crowd,

A wolf in sheep's clothing, it may seem,

A Trojan horse, a synthetic plaguing dream.

It's a tapestry of tragedy, woven with care,

It's a quilt of our own making, stitched with care and precision,

A masterpiece of destruction, a despairing affair.

A testament to the tragic nature of our times.

The symphony we’ve weaved is one of sorrow, a mournful tune that resonates throughout the earth.

A daunting melody that speaks volumes of pain and agony, while over-shrinking a shrink film’s worth.

It's a garden of garbage, a field of despair,

A wasteland of wonder, beyond repair.

It's a graveyard of dreams, of hope and of love,

A tragic end to all that we hold above.

So let us mourn, let us grieve for our loss,

And vow to fight, no matter what the cost.

Let us break free from disposable-nightmare’s eerie hold,

And gift wrap the earth instead in a future we can behold.

The Fishes are off to a Plastic Protest by Khatija Khan

i once mistakenly swallowed

a strawberry bubblegum

and panicked at full blast because

my science teacher had taught us

that it was non biodegradable

and does not break into sugar.

the stomach does not digest it

for it is made up of plastic

and do you realise how

plastic has become our personal history.

it is conjuctivitis in the eyes of the earth

spreading its roots to blind all of us.

carry bags so easy to go out with,

tiffin boxes and cookie cans,

my mother's favourite piping wires that shimmer while she sews,

dad's screwdriver collection and the box it is kept in; decades and decades; never replaced.

all my dollhouses that lay on the shelf

and the shelf itself; forever new; for evermore.

the cough syrup bottles in sickness

and rasna sachés in health.

all the hairbands my sister bought

for me on my birthdays, one of which

i still wear.

we are gift-wrapping the earth in plastic,

but for whom?

how did we come this far?

the paper banners read in the school exhibition some months ago,

that was supposed to put

a full stop to excessive plastic usage.

but at the end of the day, there were

disposable glasses being crushed

under uncountable legs

polythene bags breathing our air,

candy wrappers crawling all around

and a hundred straws lying everywhere

like stray animals, no one talks about.

the stray dogs- that swallow spat strawberry bubblegums and die near beaches.

maybe someday, the bubblegums

will walk back to those who spat them.

crabs, oysters and jellyfish,

colourful piranhas and prawns and snails,

starlings of the water

have gone missing

from the nearby river.

some newsmen on the tv yesterday

were addressing the amount of plastic in it

"the narmada replaces marine life

with toxic waste"

said the news headline

until my father switched the news channel

to one where some people

were on a protest.

now i eagerly wait for the day

the journalists find the fishes

that are off to a plastic protest.


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