Tear – Day Twenty Four of NaPoWriMo

Ma, why is the sea salty?


Seaside conversations were a ritual with Ma.

With a five-year-old me

gripping the end of her drab saree,

engrossed in the sandpiper

not far from shore.

The sour smell of the ocean air

wafted through

and the beckoning calls of the water

was tempting my mind.

“Ma, why is the sea salty?”

Asking questions was also a part

wasn’t it?


Ma’s eyes glazed over far

and she told me it’s the siren’s tears.


In the deepest darkest part of the ocean

where no man could ever go,

she wails

for love, she lost

away back.

A sailor, handsome and proud

took her heart and

for him, she cries ever since then.

Because he left as the others did.

The siren’s song lost its charm

and so, did her heart.

For now, she knew she was cursed,

to never find love in this wretched world.

There she still is,

in the deepest darkest part of the ocean.

Where no man could ever go-

to let her tears, flood everywhere.


It’s a wonder how five-year-olds are oblivious to all.

Oblivious to the tear down her cheek.

Oblivious to her pain.

Oblivious to the empty room at home.

Oblivious to all.

Wish I had known it then,


Sirens don’t exist.

Sandpipers will steal your shell


Ma never told me imaginary tales.


Written by Aneesha Muthuraj for MTTN

Artwork by Ankita Shenai

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