There were too many signs, he should have noticed them. Like when she kept staring into the oblivion while the bread fumed in the toaster; like when the phone rang several times before her mind snapped back to present. He eventually realised that these inconsequential events were omnipresent.

She left her chores unfinished and often asked him in her quivering voice where her medicines were. “For the hundredth time, Amma, they’re in the first drawer.” She would then take them with apologetic eyes.

But that day, as she popped out the pills from the shiny aluminium pocket, her eyes glazed over.

photo album
a page yellower
than the rest

Weeks emulsified into months, the house never echoed with her voice. The silent creaking for her rocking chair and the rising aroma of her cooking became memories that filled the void she left. He could still hear her humming that favourite song as she worked and the softness of her lap under his head.

As the calendar flipped pages, the rocking chair found itself in a flea market, the house was littered with foils of take-away meals, no filmy songs ever played and he slept on his hard pillow each night.

a flute-seller’s song
the depth of shadows
under his eyes




She twists her hair up into a knot and glances at the chipped-off wall mirror. She is met with the adamant stare of tired blue eyes set in a plain freckled face. Her hair is matted with dust grains at their roots. She has neither the time nor the inclination to care. She averts her eyes and pads softly across the room. In her diary she writes of a palatial home in place of her tin shed, of hours she could spend in vanity if not conceit, of days spent without harrowing labour but in the rhapsodies of paradise.

sullen skies ̶
the drumming torrent
in sync with her heart

She twists her hair into an elegant yet intricate braid and glances in the ornate framed mirror. She is met with sparkling blue eyes set in a delicate ethereal face. Her hair shine golden in the twists of her hairdo and is crowned with a gemstone-studded tiara. She averts her eyes and climbs down the spiral staircase, into a chamber lined with rich embroidered tapestries. As she sits under the elaborate chandelier with her journal, she pours her longing for lying in a meadow beneath the starry blanket rather than the confinement of the palace; of hours of working and having a satiated slumber; of skies beyond her golden cage and life in the rhapsodies of paradise.

rustling breeze
the scars hide
beneath her satin




He rolls up his camouflage trousers and immerses his sore calves into the glacial tarn. He sighs as the water laps at his worn out flesh. The metallic sound of bullets as they ricochet from the man-torso dummies still rings in his ears. He glances at the water and for a moment, sees the young boy he had once been, before his cheeks caved in, his forehead furrowed and his face got riddled with scars. His eyes had been melting brown and never wore this steely glare.

The austere training had etched into his personality another man; someone he never imagined he would become. His musings surcease as he shifts focus on a bright pink lotus slowly withdrawing its petals.

forest canopy
the restless hoot
of a barn owl