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NaPoWriMo'23 Day Fourteen: Brief Heaven

In another life, happiness coats my tongue with its aftertaste by Jijnyasa Patowary

dear god, 

i think i met you for a few minutes last night. the guests were gone and i saw my mother take a bowl of kheer and play her favorite show on the tv.       what is it about mothers and the sad singularity of things they do for themselves?         but i saw her laugh for the longest time and wipe some milk off her chin.    i hope you don’t deny me, but there must be another life where happiness isn’t fleeting and leaves a trail of all its glory.               my mother has been living in pockets of brief heaven - stealing moments in solitary, sieving seconds from hours.   as if her time belongs to everyone else but her.        her shoulders are heavy from carrying my father’s anger. her hands weak from holding onto me.

    i want to leave, you see, i refuse to become a disclaimer for a collapsing family.    but i saw her laugh for the longest time      so there must exist a parallel world where she walks on wet grass like she did when she was 16. she doesn’t run back inside to heal a broken home - but lets her broken heel turn itself near the jamun trees.       please don’t deny me; in another life, happiness coats my tongue pink with its aftertaste.         which is to say somewhere i am my mother’s daughter and i leave easter eggs in the backyard only for me.     i oil her hair and she paints my nails. my father puts a blanket over us when we sleep.     in another life, my mother looks at me build a home of my own and is proud that pain isn’t her only legacy.  i let her look at me because in another life, my mother doesn’t see a mirror, but a face inherited from her mother. we hold our ice cream cones tenderly and let them melt all over our jutis.      i beg of you to not deny me,    in another life, i get to see my father soften under the sun and we water the garden roses together.                                      my mother plants a few more jamun trees. 

in another life, i am not afraid of my home. i am not afraid to stay.         so, i stay.             i do.

lovingly and in despair,



Heaven isn't heaven unless I can comfortably break down here by Antara Vashistha

The sizzling sprinkle

of a hot shower,

spelling the words

P A N D E M O N I U M,

the foggy curtain

on the bathroom mirror,

the twenty-three tiles

zig-zagging their way

through the


counting seconds by the drop,

imagining walls are


muffling screams in the

T-Shirt you wore yesterday,

shower drains clogged from

golden hair and thoughts

too illegible

to put down on words.

My evening shower

is a fleeting release,

my eyes close down to

the sound of trickling water,

If I am quiet enough,

I cannot hear my father yell anymore.

Few more minutes,

and I will once again

be ready

to confront my mother's silence,

slowly the fingers turn

the knob,

coolness seeping through

once scalding water,

The blue plastic throne

beckons me to sink



I take

this as a

Perfect sign

to collapse

in my naked vulnerability.

Heaven isn't heaven

unless I can

comfortably break down


Seven minutes have passed

and soon the

water drips with tenuous guilt,

a reminder (that)

the family bathroom

on the ground floor

cannot be

your brief heaven.

The doors are only wood,

they will break-

the switch to the bulb is


you do not control if

the light gets in here-

nor darkness-

but the latter will bottle up

and stay-


the bulb is not connected to the inverter,

and there are

much too power cuts

in the summer,

and soon it will be


not autumn,

so it is time

to dab your face

against the softer towel,

few more minutes to

calm the eyes


the last whiff

of your coffee-flavored

body wash,

by the way,

you're running out of


and breathe

the succeeding seconds-

Try to keep

this quiet close

in your mind,

now unlock,


and don't forget

to switch

the geyser on

on your way out.

Who knows if heaven and happiness share the same lifespan by Mohua Chakraborty

Faith is a traditional conceit

consuming the feet of

blushing demons

the hands that grow in solitude

don't contaminate sins

they seek death suspended

in the horizon

while apples turn into

cannibals of parental sobs

Reading is a fine invention

a travelling sport inside

a constricted phantom

as if cages smell of freedom

and every bird is sick of it

we summon gods like neighbours

with mouths dry washed

in washing machines

while miniature cooking rituals

are attached to them using safety pins

gods are likely to wander

in vegan spaceships

that crash landed in

those cages and we

assumed brief heavens

could be entrapped

like dead women submerged

in masculine mirth

for how long will those hands

bath in alcoholic cough syrups

before squeezing singular maternity

from the right portion of my left lung

though god is everywhere

aren't discovery channels closing soon?

My faith is a synonym

for the event of

silencing immortal sins

you say, solitude can be the

language between my legs

but silence is the paralysed

output of unsettled rage

it seems submissive prayers

are no more audible

rubbing the backs of all the

languages that left for gehenna

for who knows if heaven and

happiness share the same lifespan

and I wonder if gods

born on the same day

receive the same amount

of pained hearts.

Stifled Ballads by Shivaani Dushyanth

Stifled ballads sung in

The feets of men born

To the lamp-post of the

Village that flickers when

Women are with pens

And is dim when they read,

The world shines when they

Sleep for only then, they

Are allowed to dream.

This road of anarchy swipes

Solitude in potholes and

Sewage tanks cleanse purity

When they lift their sarees

To cover their foreheads,

It's a dirty way to perform

Rituals of superiority, for their

Freedom is more ugly than

Roadside slush.

When, Kitchen cloths scrub their

Posthumous grease on

Decayed palms to realise

That every filth is blamed

On their future to slam

Vegetables inside their tongues,

They grieve in rotten smells,

And cut the same to serve food,

Speech severed, a voice muted.

But when they pray on their knees

God sweeps the floor beneath

because faith is their

Key and locks are hung

Behind the temples,

No man can pluck their hair

When devotion is stuck to

Their heads as the moment

Of brief heaven can never be

Stolen from them women.

They avail freedom in

Midnight rains of glorious

Beaches which is the

Metaphor of their storm

That creeps into hearts,

They sit and stare at the sea

Of burden like lost children,

Who give and empty their love.

So the next time the

Railway stations call out

Numbers they will raise

Axes and chop the speakers

And replace it with their

Tongues, so that everybody

Can hear their agony laced

In coffe dust, to be a a void

Then try to become vacuum.


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