Four Generations

Leave a comment

December 22, 2016 by The Citron Review

by Richa Gupta

 
I infuse disappointment in my sighs, think about getting a job and maybe buying a corset to thin out my body. I spread glitter on my lips, and mother tells me I look like a star. The words dangle off her tongue, and I’m not sure if it’s a compliment. My mother takes care of my kid, but is more keen on keeping the blades away from me. I don a periwinkle dress and pray that the fashion magazine has an opening. I don’t give a damn about working, but my grandmother does. She addresses my mother: where did you go wrong? The words are honey mingled with vinegar, whispered yet maneuvered to reach my ears. Her eyes are swords, slicing and tearing apart the rouge on my cheeks and the tattoo on my collarbone.

My mother wants me to be happy, exactly what she is not. She takes me out to R-rated movies when my grandmother is asleep, trying to escape the fact that all three of our men left us. One in a coffin, one in bed with a model, one nowhere to be found; but not in the order people would anticipate. She buys me scented candles speckled with violet gems, takes me to bakeries next to fashion magazine offices where we smear our faces with third-rate blueberry pudding. My daughter will be beautiful; she has her father’s genes. Her skin is too smooth for a newborn, her eyes too bright, her hair too satiny. When my grandmother rocks her to sleep because my lungs are populated with smoke, I hear her hum. Don’t take after your mother, take after me. And I bite my lips until blood becomes my dinner.

But my grandmother is right, even though I’ll never surrender. I screwed up my mother, and now her job is making sure I don’t overdose on pills, or worse yet, get pregnant again. My grandmother talks about how her mother caned her when she did wrong, how she did the housework every hour of the day, how she bled sweat and exhaustion, how she married a man she despised just to please her parents. She then tells me how my mother had a pristine life as an accountant, how she gave that up a few years ago when my life started spiraling out of control. She tells me something snapped in my mother the night she found me unconscious, blood running down my thighs, turning my honey kilt crimson. My grandmother talks like a ghost, like the fog of life wafted away years ago. Her skin is a papier mâché of hurt and goodness that decayed over time.

She doesn’t need to remind me of how I stomach bottles of guilt and wasted the life I was given. One night, my mother lets me cradle my baby to sleep. She arms tremble when she hands her to me, and her face is bloated with apprehension. I see myself in a wine glass and wonder what I have become. I look at my daughter’s puckered lips and the waves of brown embracing her head, a halo that came down to earth. I hold her against my chest and promise her I’ll give her the life my mother wanted to give me but didn’t get the chance to. Tears roll down my cheeks and land on her nose, a sparkling sign of rebirth.
 

Richa Gupta is a seventeen-year-old poet and blogger from Bangalore, India. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Moledro Magazine, and enjoys reading for Glass Kite Anthology and Polyphony H.S. Richa is also a blog contributor with The Huffington Post and Voices of Youth. When not reading or writing, Richa can be seen playing the piano or singing Hindustani Vocal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Snow on brush in desert

IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary

 

    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.

 

🍋 Instagram

Winter will soon come to a close and everyone's crying! We trust Paul Beckman to reveal a trail through it all. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/15/crumbs/ Paul Beckman’s fourth short story collection is Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press), was a finalist for the 2019 Short Story Indie Book Awards. He was one of the winners of @bestsmallfictions 2016. He won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2016 from Fiction Southeast, and was in the #WigleafTop50. His stories have appeared in @jellyfishreviewig, @spelkfiction, @litromedia, @pankmagazine, Lost Balloon and many others. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB Bar & @kgblitjournal. #amreading #flashfiction
Don't cry...or maybe do. A deeper look at our saltiest moments with Denton Loving's "The Topography of Tears." https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/the-topography-of-tears/ Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an Anthology of Writings about Water. His writing has recently appeared in @lunchwithironhorse, @kenyonreview, #ChattahoocheeReview and #TheThreepennyReview. #amreading #creativenonfiction
US President George Washington rode a horse, of course. So we are recognizing this President's birthday with our Winter Issue story, "The Farrier, by Lisa Tuininga. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/the-farrier/ Lisa Tuininga writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds a BA in English Literature from DePaul University and has studied at Seattle’s literary center, @hugohouse. Her work has appeared in @belletristmagazine , Adanna Literary Journal, @sharkreeflit, and others (under pen name Lisa Regen) and she is working on her first novel. #amreading #amsubmitting
Whether you celebrate V-Day or you're anti-V-Day, we all have laundry to do. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/15/hanging-out-the-laundry/ Kris Willcox's work is in publications including The Cimarron Review​, @beloitfictionjournal , and @PDXReview. #amreading #flashfiction #litmag
Dive deep into some #flashfiction with @elpattee. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/men-learn-to-swim-in-the-deep-end/ Emma Pattee’s writing has been published in @nytimes and @carvecommunity and is forthcoming in @marieclairemag. She was a 2019 AWP Writer-to-Writer mentee and leads the Portland chapter of Women Who Submit. She is currently working on a novel.
We review the debut Cathy Ulrich collection Ghosts of You (@okaydonkeymag) We're over the moon with ZEST. https://citronreview.com/2020/02/09/debut-fiction-review-by-jr-walsh/ #amreading #flashfiction

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: