Nine O’Clock

Nine O’Clock

by Shravya Gunipudi

photo by Eddy Kimani

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Battered, bruised, lower lip swollen
One red eye, the other won’t open
Unending fear, damage and destruction
Two broken ribs and a jaw reconstruction

Forever running, trying to hide
Her trembling heart refuses to stay inside
Shivers running down her spine
She dreads the moment the clock strikes nine

I remember crouching, cowering on the floor
As I hear the creak in our rickety main door
She gets up and runs all around the house
In a futile attempt to get away from her spouse

Covering the bruises on her left hand
She hides her fate, shaped as a wedding band
A husband by name, a monster in disguise
As he steps in at nine, a part of her dies

Oh, how many times she wished for death
For the haggard hiss to be her last breath
But luck refused to side her way
It tortured and terrified her, until today

I watch as she sleeps, closing her eyes
As the smelly room is echoing with cries
What’s good luck for one can be bad for the other
I realize that as I gaze at my dead mother

Alone in this world, with nowhere to go
There’s no means to live, no one I know
After years of struggle, she’s set herself free
But she left something behind, something called me

By the time the clock strikes nine, I’m the only one
Today, for once in her life , my mother doesn’t get up to run
But the door doesn’t open either, no one storms inside
And I’m left sitting alone in the dark, sleepy but wide eyed

I stare longingly at her face, peaceful at last
Knowing moments with her are now in the past
I won’t feel her love and her care anymore
I know I shall never be as happy as I was before

At the break of dawn, her soul rises up high
Leaving me here, without a chance to say goodbye
What’s good luck for one can be bad for the other
But that’s okay, because now I have a happy mother



Shravya Gunipudi, a 20 year old Chartered Accountancy Student from Hyderabad, India has a deep passion for writing that started from a very tender age and has won multiple writing contests along various themes. An avid reader with a keen interest in Public Speaking, she’s tried her hand at Sketching, Painting, art and is a district level sports player. She believes that there is no greater form of expression than writing and hopes to be doing this for years to come. Her favourite quote that she chooses to live by is, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about”.

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