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Crayons and Cries


P O E T R Y


Tabassum Hasnat


Rubbing the stained palms of hers,
Against the baby pink wipes,
The smell of melons seemed 
To tingle the rims of her nostrils.
She bent on her knees, onto the cold floor,
Letting the small fingers of hers 
To clasp around the crayons,
That laid sprawled neath the white papers 
When vivid hues of red yellow and blue,
Tugged at the corners of her eyes,
Causing her to beam at her little piece of art,
That had her world etched across it
With her parents breathing at the very core.

And then she heard it – those very sudden cries,
Padding her way to the door,
She turned the knob 
When a banging sound boomed in her ears,
As if something, or maybe someone 
Had been hurled against a wall.
Tinge of blackness gleamed across her,
As she peeked through the partly opened door,
Nothing, absolutely nothing 
Yet there was something 
Clawing upon this darkness when she saw it –
The edge of a knife, glistening with menace,
Pressed up to, perhaps someone’s throat, 
But whose? Pondered the mind of this little girl,
As her fingers itched to push the door open,
A tad more, and more until it was 
her mother’s throat swaying upon the verge,
Of being perfectly sliced by that very knife.

The crayons slipped from her fist,
With a soft thud beside her feet,
As her round big welled up eyes,
Took in the hands that held the knife.
And does she not know those hands
By every chamber of her thumping heart?
She stepped a foot away from the door,
While her mother begged and beseeched,
To be freed from those hands of her father’s.

Something crunched under her feet 
As she continued to back away,
With a rush of throbbing befuddlement,
Gnawing at the depths of her mind 
When she glanced down at those two pieces,
Of the once whole crayon.
And her gaze moved, so did her small frame,
Towards the drawing of hers,
She paused in the midway,
To look over her shoulder when 
the frugal glimpse of her mother’s throat,
free of any knife’s slashing edge 
Sent a shiver of relief along the spine of hers,
Only to be replaced with yet another shiver 
Of the vilest and hideous dread,
As she saw the same pair of hands, 
Now curled up around the base of her mother’s neck.

Seizing the drawing off the floor,
Along with some of the scattered crayons,
She ran to the furthermost nook of her room,
Hiding herself there with the drawing 
Clutched to her chest until she couldn’t help 
But throw it away in front of her 
And scratch and scrawl on every inch of it,
With the same crayons 
That she once used to craft this little,
But very endearing art of hers.
And at one point she must have 
Succumbed to sleep.
For how long could the lids
Of a seven-year-old be wakeful?
And the next time, she heard a cry,
It was of her own, as she came running,
Down the stairs sniffling and shaking 
Only to be scooped into the lap,
Of her father’s whom she failed 
to cognise last night, but all she had been told,
Was that it was one bad dream,
and would soon be forgotten and forsaken.

Then what was that patch of redness?

That she could see on her mother’s neck,
From the corner of her eyes, 
As she rushed to her with the widest smile 
Sealed upon the cheeks that held,
Tints of black and blue veiled 
With the seamless blush of rosiness,
While she rocked back and forth 
Wrapped in the warmth of the man,
She had loved the most.
But what was that blotch of callousness?
Carved in the fibres of his hands,
That seemed to be shrouded with 
The tenderness that she could only feel,
As he rubbed soothing circles upon her back.

And, what about those shreds of paper 
That laid strewn across that cranny of her room,
Along with the splintered pieces of the crayons,
That still retained their colours upon her palms?
Alas, for how could have the tweeny weeny mind 
Of hers, sought the answers, 
To these dauntingly devastating queries?
Yet they lingered, here and there 
Buried in some secluded corner of her mind,
For, she might not have been the victim 
But surely the witness of such domestic violence.

 


Tabassum Hasnat is a freelance writer of short-form fictitious genres, and co-author of multiple international book compilations and anthologies published on platforms like Amazon, Kindle, Google Books, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, Notion Press, etc.

 

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