Is my house supposed to feel like this?
Like wearing a woollen sweater on skin
drenched in summery softness,
like I’m drowning in stale milk,
in stories of regret decorating
walls in scrawny red crayons,
plasters not from Paris falling down,
falling apart like mosaic vases,
like grades after a wild summer?
Wasn’t my house supposed to feel like home?
Maybe feel like mothers weren’t
yelling at you to keep quiet,
keep silent, keep studying, keep surviving?
Like fathers don’t take you
out for wild rides on high swings
and toss you out in the river to die
loveless, lifeless and rootless?
Wasn’t my house supposed to feel like home?
Is my house supposed to strangle me?
smell like suicide notes and taste like
Drainex bottles lying in eager anticipation,
watchful cat-eyes tracing every move,
waiting for you to pick up the bottle
and drink, drink your life out of your mouth.
Is my house supposed to be a chest,
with secrets locked away in
random compartments and wished
away into oblivion?
Is my house supposed to spell rebellion
every second of my life, be a demonstration,
be desperate attempts to break free,
to define freedom,
then run right back to where it all started?
Is it supposed to make tongues wag back in,
humiliation seep through cracks on the floor
and the world exist in a single room,
with four people to call a family?
Is my house supposed to make me want to run?
Is my house supposed to make me a sandwich?
Is my house to bury my past into tiled floors?
Is my house to be called home?
Is it supposed to taste like exhaustion and lozenges every day?


Anjali Bhavan

Anjali Bhavan is a student at Delhi Technological University. Her work has been published in A Twist in the Tale, an anthology of short stories by Max Life Insurance, as well as The Speaking Tree, a supplement of the Times of India, and Esthesia magazine and Span, the online magazine by the American Embassy in New Delhi. She has also published on female genital mutilation, in Questioz.