October 16, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

UN photo



Tanushree Ghosh




The Sibling You Can’t Have



Far away from where I stay,

There is a place I hear, called Idlib

Never been to. Never will.

Not a country on any bucket list.

A blood bath it could be, I heard them say,

Last stronghold left to fall, in a country going back to where it came from

Lives lost in between? Half a million or maybe more…

Close to a thousand children a year wilted away


A little closer to where I stay,

There are some cages with foil blankets to spare

Children snatched away, sleeping in fear

While confusion unfolds on whose cross it is to bear

Their fault they came, not everyone was in despair

Fair enough, and we have troubles of our own to elucidate

And we have reverted back anyway, except for a few who are left…

A small price to pay for a statement that needs to made


From a childhood now obscure almost

In a nation I have left behind,

Small faces show up some days

Against our car window, with wants so small yet so hard to find

Rohingya children pressed against bamboo poles –

Just a little way from there, in Bangladesh today

Their parents carrying their dying thin frames,

Images just a Google click away.


But right here, where I stay,

You come knocking on my door, every day.

With a question on life, or maybe death.

For every life to be sacred. To be offered a choice to live.

For unborns waiting a moral call, you believe your God would want it this way.

Or you come to me as my friend with gentle shoulder tap,

One is not enough, with a soft warning you say

So that I pro-create again before it’s too late.


I shut my eyes and feel it in my womb. A joy so deep, a desire so pure.

But then it’s gone, replaced by dread,

For there are children who are already here

Who need food, no air-strikes, a land to call home, a safe place to stay.

There is a new-born somewhere who will die tomorrow,

Having spent just a day, maybe hours in a forgotten room.

A box ticked off, he was born after-all,

You have moved on, to another unborn who can be saved.


I know of the little arms reaching out for an embrace,

Shuddering in bunkers as problems that are not ours.

I worry of the scars etching deep in minds too small,

They will live to tell the tales, they will grow up somewhere.

So I pull my child into my arms,

And talk of a sibling that I decide she can’t have.

But how do I explain the following to her?

353,000 children will be born today, while the ones here can’t be saved.






She and her Gun



We can’t ban guns, she says.

Holding onto something in her purse.

Or holding onto herself maybe,

As her lips tightly purse.


I have lost a son. A daughter too. She adds.

A sadness so soft – timid almost.

A sadness that’s not right to feel.

For they have told her, it will come with a high cost.


They will take away your rights. It will just start with the guns.

And it will not solve, nor will it be undone.

It’s like your right to breathe, they have whispered in her ears.

They, who she can’t name. But they, who will never be gone.


Lock the crazies up instead. Or use your gun.

They shout now in her ear,

Her fingers fidget as her legs start trembling,

Another shot. Right in her backyard.


She stares at the blood, her heart frozen with fear.

Sweat trickles down her cheeks.

We can’t ban guns, she says again.

The last shot hits her, as she speaks.






Tanushree Ghosh

Tanushree Ghosh works in Supply Chain Management in the Tech industry (she has a Ph.D in Chemistry from Cornell University and has worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratories) and is an author and activist in her spare time. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has published in several literary magazines and blogs. Her first anthology was selected into Oprah’s reading list 2.0 and her first single author manuscript is currently with her agent: Jennifer Lyons. She is also the founder of HerRights: a non profit working to catalyze action against gender violence. For more on her visit: www.thoughtsandrights.com.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.