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The Rising

by Supatra Sen
(Kolkata, India)

The Rising
By Supatra Sen

She told me that she came to the big city
To earn money
Enough for a bicycle
So that she could pedal furiously
And get a doctor for her fragile mother
She came at ten, she said
And then forgot her return.

First her mother’s health
Then their rising debts
And after that her sister’s marriage
Her nephew’s education
The niece’s operation
Intercepted often by Aila or Amphan
She stayed on

A decade and a half
An urban bred now
A swipe of a finger
Across the touchscreen
Could fetch a doctor
Or transfer her earning
Her access to complete security

Only when her fever would rise
In the painless delirium
She saw
The lifeless stretching arms
Of a leafless tree
Groping its way to touch
The vast limitless blue expanse above…

By Supatra Sen

Home-comings were much awaited
Whether from work or trips
Warm hugs, warmer smiles
Grandpa rushing to Nahoum’s
For fresh baked pastries and cookies
Grandmom ready to unpack bag and baggage
And put everything in order
Ma would be waiting for the day’s stories
To be narrated in exact with conversations and expressions
While Father would look on
An indulgent smile
With the look that meant “She’ll conquer the world some day”
Many battles fought since then
Lost or won irrelevant
But fought…

And now home-coming
To my dark, empty house
As lonely and dilapidated as its sheltered
But my old faithful
You’re still home
The home where I return
To that familiar embrace
O’er the darkening skies
And greying years.


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