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Victory (poem)

shattered by shreekant plappally
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The firecrackers light up the night sky
smiles move from a face to another
she is happy
in India it is Deepavali, the festival of lights
twelve thousand miles away that celebration
mixes with another
“We won’’
somebody shouted – “let’s get 2020’’!
tireless efforts paid off,
the countless nights she did not tuck in her children
the concerts of her son she missed
the numerous rainbows she did not look at
the many episodes of her favorite show she skipped
the poems she did not read, or write
all vindicated, at this moment
the light, the sound, the action
all feel like a happy ending of a movie. 

It was not an easy campaign, never meant to be
mud was slung, stones hurled
a daughter of immigrants
she had to prove her mettle
to her family, to the world
and to herself. 

Now she is drowned in congratulations
for a job well done
she passed the test
with flying colors.

Meanwhile many miles away in a bar
a different type of light spits out of the barrel of a gun
a different type of sound fills the room
there are screams and stampede
bodies strewn all across the floor
bodies that now only have names
lips that will not feel the touch of its lover
eyes that will not witness 2020.

Now there is silence
deafening, vicious, choking silence
waiting to be shattered by the next round of bullets. 

The guests left the living room in a mess
she does not want to clean it now
she wants to rest, to cuddle with her family
she wants to be home tonight.

Tomorrow she will wake up early
to prepare herself
for the next battle
for the next journey ahead. 

After all, victory is but a moment!!

Dr. Sen is the Lee A Green Collegiate Research Professor at the University of Michigan. He holds research professor titles in the departments of Family Medicine and Biostatistics. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He was born in Kolkata and is closely attached to his cultural roots through poetry literature and theatre.

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