My child runs to me from his room
And clings on to me for dear life
There’s a monster under our floor, he says
It groans gutturally and shakes the tiles
It has friends outside that scream deep sighs
And land in fairy lights somewhere.
His sleep addled eyes are wide awake,
As are mine.
His father says we must run away
As he has to the playing fields,
Where big players are out
To beat the unsettled team
In a twisted game of monopoly.
He says I must run,
Run to the borders,
With my life inside my bag,
Our dear son in tow,
If all else fails, we must live, he says,
But if all else fails, must we?
Which border do I cross, I wonder?
Where can I pack my home?
The walls that we painted last summer?
Where can I take the plants I grew?
The pansies that glisten
In the morning snow,
Even while the sky spews dust.
I ask my son to pack his bag,
Tell him we are going on an adventure,
I ask him if he’s brave enough
To walk with me through snowy roads.
He looks at me with childish wisdom,
And says, mummy I’ll walk with you,
And I won’t heed the cold,
Here, wear your hat and take your coat,
The sun will keep us warm.
Rituparna Mukherjee is a faculty of English and Communication Studies at Jogamaya Devi College, under the University of Calcutta. She is currently pursuing Doctoral degree in Gendered Mobilities in west African and Afro-Diasporic Literature at IIIT Bhubaneswar. Her areas of interest include African and Indian literature and Post-colonial and Feminist theories as well as English Language Teaching, Second Language Acquisition and Communication studies. She works as an ELT consultant, translator and author outside of her work and research schedule.