Topography of a Common Progeny By Shinjini Bhattacharjee

August 6, 2015 Comments Off on Topography of a Common Progeny By Shinjini Bhattacharjee

There was a piece of sunlight on each window, the one on the right shaped like a shell, hollow with two dust-framed eyelashes. The blue curtains were never able to uncut anything in her or the walls, yet they stayed, their red patches glinting on golden strands in her black hair. It was the hair of wisdom, the neighbors had said when they carried her to that house, her body encased in glass that never left her. She dreamt of her mother often, and always with those curtains draped against her hands like a question recently broken into two. That always woke her up, her sleep-stunted bedsheet too tired to bring a pencil close to her ear, or to even braid her breaths.

The letter had been placed on the white table fifteen years ago as dried afterbirth. It was given to her when she blew out the soggy candles on a cake shaped like forced gravity. She was also given a knife, for the letters would only make sense if she pried them open and tasted their methods. When she turned four, she picked up the words she loved the most and poured them over grass to see if they would turn any greener, but they shaped themselves immediately onto the back of paper plates, blue like the cloud sitting in her grandmother’s mouth, a forgotten tangle of words smudging the consonants on her teeth. When she turned nine, she picked up five coffee mugs and drew a red line around each. Yet some words continued to stick to her hair. So every Wednesday, she dragged them out of the grandfather clock and bathed them in an aquarium full of roots and matryoshka dolls until they began to heal the mid-stitch on the back of her dress.

Then one day, a woman followed her home from the birdhouse and handed her a firefly slit down the center. After that, she stopped hiding the words. She took the firefly back to the body of water that offered empty pill bottles to the entire village and buried it. She allowed her toes and fingers to grow shadows on the glass until they were so bright they became terrifying.

© 2015 Shinjini Bhattacharjee

Shinjini Bhattacharjee is a writer and the Editor-in-Chief of Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her works have been published, or are forthcoming in Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Gone Lawn, Crack the Spine, elimae, Metazen, Red Paint Hills Poetry, Literary Orphans and elsewhere.

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