Burnt Words – The Mother’s Alibi

Poetry is Hereditary

Life would be extremely different if we could see it from everyone’s perspective.

Sept 15, 2014

My husband and my daughter’s dad passed away. He was overseas serving the army when he was reported missing in action. Soon they found his body ridden with bullet wounds. They say he felt no pain but it is too much to bear. I don’t have the heart to tell my daughter either. I can’t, I just can’t. She is so happy right now. I do not want to make her sad. She is my cherished treasure.

Oct 5, 2014 – Morning

It’s a normal day. My daughter is watching a Barbie movie when she suddenly gets up and runs towards her room. I raise an eyebrow and silently go to check on her. She is scribbling something on a piece of paper.

Oct 5, 2014 – Night

I tuck my daughter in bed and wait till she falls asleep. I twirl her hair in my fingers. Before leaving I see the piece of paper she had scribbled on earlier lying on the floor. I pick it up and go to my bedroom to read it.

Oct 6, 2014

I haven’t stopped crying. I didn’t think such things were passed in genetics. My daughter has started writing poetry like her late dad. I can’t handle it because it is so fluent and so heart-touching like her dad. I decide the best course of action for me is to destroy it.

Feb 11, 2015 – Morning

From the corner of my eye, I see the washroom door opening and my half naked daughter stumbling towards her room. I become curious and go inspect. When I reach I see her hiding something inside a drawer.

Feb 11, 2015 – Night

I silently tiptoe my way inside and open my daughter’s drawer. When it doesn’t open I smash the drawer with a hammer. So stupid of me. My daughter shifts in her bed but the earphones she wears before bedtime hamper her from taking notice of the sound the hammer had made. I, then, open the drawer and take out the paper and close the drawer. I go back to my room and read it. I don’t take a moment more to tear the paper apart and throw it in the garbage. Poetry again.

March 21, 2015

My daughter says she wants me to check her homework. I read it. The emotions welled up inside me. I tear the paper apart. I realize what I have done is wrong but I just do not want to remember her dad anymore.

She brings poetry to me. I scream in my head, “WHY ARE YOU A POET AS WELL. WHY ARE YOU WRITING POETRY? WHY ARE YOU REMINDING ME OF YOUR DEAD FATHER AND MY DEAD HUSBAND?” as I tear the paper apart.

20 minutes later she brings a whole stack of printed poetry. I barely hold back my tears as I burn it all. I can’t bear it anymore. I look at my daughter’s face. She seems distraught but says nothing. I feel even worse. I go to my room and cry for the whole evening.

March 22, 2015

While cleaning the burnt mess I find that one copy of the poem had survived. I have the sudden urge to throw it away but for some reason, I decide to keep it and put it in my pocket.

Nov 31, 2015

My daughter seemed awfully confused today and doesn’t answer my question when I ask her about her homework. When she is in the washroom and I secretly check her diary. The homework reads, “Write a poem.” I put the diary down and go back to my room. I put my hands to my head and I can’t stop crying. It’s been over a year but the wound is still so fresh. But something is different.

After 9 months, I have the courage to read. The courage to read my daughter’s poetry. I take out the burnt paper that I have kept so safely all these months and I start reading it once more.

The tears won’t stop flowing. How did I not know this? Why did I never think that she thought the same of me? In distress, I silently mop away in my room.

Dec 1, 2015

While dropping my daughter at her school I secretly go visit her English teacher and give her the burnt paper saying she wrote it but didn’t like it.

“A word’s missing at the end,” the teacher remarks.

“It got lost maybe. That’s why.” She doesn’t believe me but tucks the paper into her pocket promising to get my daughter to read it. I thank her then leave.

I reach home and open my drawer and safely tuck away a piece of the burnt paper that states simply and concisely,


Please read “Burnt words” (https://zipit.pk/burnt-words/) before reading this article.

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