Akrati Mehrotra

mother, o mother!

mother, o mother, come sit beside me!
let me make you some tea today.
shall we grieve, dear mother, your father
whose spirit still haunts you when father asks
you for a glass of water at three in the morning?
I have felt how his imagery flickers when you blink,
when a time-worn soul brushes
his shoulders walking past you.

mother, o mother, let me do some laundry today!
I watch you removing every stain your son
smears as he follows his father's legacy.
I twitch at how blindly you want the
red, blue, brown, yellow and grey begone
from white,
how you stand in despair with your hands on the rolling pin:
a mind ever so clouded with unease that sometimes your rotis turn black and crisp.

mother, o  mother, let me command the morning prayers tomorrow!
I promise I shall rise with birds,
chant your mother's favourite hymns,
pray for you, for you never do, I know.
I know I have seen your lips muttering,
"dear god, don't let my son's life be in vain,
let him understand his opposite kind. let him never treat us like my father.
dear god, let my husband be what his sisters dreamed him to be,
and let my daughter rise above every man in her life
however shallow, I shall pray for you today and for you only, dear mother.

mother, o mother, come sit beside me!
let me make your hair, caress your scalp today,
let me adorn you with flowers father never brought you,
show you the affectionate words brother never wrote to you,
sing with you the songs grandfather deemed as vulgar, inhumane, hellish ignitions;
let me show you what you hide from yourself.


Akrati Mehrotra (she/her) is a high-schooler from India. Apart from being a part aspiring writer and part warrior, she is also a Mitski enthusiast and can be found contemplating various dinner-table conversations at any given time. Reading Emily Dickinson out loud and confessing to the evening winds are her forte. More of her writing can be found on Tumblr /@ akratiisalive and Instagram /@akratimehrotra.