My Mother Never Came Home

Every evening without fail,

my mother always asks me for a glass of water,

and like an obedient daughter, I take one to her.

I was very used to this.


So when that one night she didn’t ask me to,

my limbs moved of their own accord,

and I carried a tumbler full of molecules to her bedside table,

and left it there.


Back in my room, I imagined little ringlets of dust settling upon it,

I watched the wind blow

from every direction towards it,

all because I had left it uncovered.


I imagined my mother walking into her room,

and finding that glass of particles standing innocently

on her rosewood table,

adorned with the fingerprints of her only offspring.


I saw her hold the steel glass, and raise it to her lips,

watched how the water with all its gathering glory

took the liberty to slide down, warm and smooth down her throat,

and settle deep in her belly, and work its way to her brain.


My imagination then became an abandoned warehouse.

once used to store the hardware to reproduce beauty

but now, left behind to suck in the dust of the surrounding states

with a sad vehemence;


for the clock in front of me had swept past twelve,

and my mother,

never came home from her evening stroll,

but left behind a daughter and a glass full of water.


Author’s Profile: Arya Mohapatra is a ninth-grader at Loyola School, Bhubaneswar. Being a published author and a slam poet, she is a school ambassador for the national magazine Kloud9 which is headed by the eminent Indian author Ruskin Bond, and regularly performs original pieces of poetry at various open mics. Having performed in the World Congress of Poets which took place in November 2019 and she is the third-place recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Awards for poetry, 2020.