And the devil lived: A poem by Parul Srivastava

There once lived a devil and so my mother told.
Though no one ever saw him but she’d felt his breath cold.

Sometimes there was a smell that lingered wherever she went.
Like rotten flesh, she had told me, was his despicable scent.

And sometimes there was a sound that resonated with her heartbeat.
Like a hiss and a footstep oscillating, oh! how sweet.

He came out only when the moon was round and shone with all its might.
‘Coz that’s when hunger coaxed him to hunt with all his spite.

That night under the full moon mother saw him drafting a kill.
She chanted the mantra as taught by the priest who assured to end the evil.

But the devil was stronger and flung my mother afar.
He then feasted on her warm flesh in that gory hour.

All my life, my mother fought the dawdling dilemma and battled for what should be.
‘Coz though she sought redemption, she knew the devil was me.