Cleaning Soldiers, Forever after, and The goodest boy by Shiksha Dheda

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Cleaning Soldiers



Bleach, toilet cleaner, sanitiser bottles all lined up like defeated soldiers after a gruesome battle. Minute brown stains from the rusted metal gate still adorn my fingertips. 

I really need to get these stains out. (or off?) 

The voices whisper. Now they shout. 

YES! Nail polish remover could work.

The voices begin to quieten. 

Wash your hands again…and again. 

The serrated bottle top cuts through my weakened tired skin. There is blood all over the bottle now. I fall to the ground – sobbing. A bundle of anxiety; a heap of failure – glances of disappointment twinkle in your eyes.



Forever after



It had been a year now. A year that he had left. She was so lonely. Lonely and sad. She had been thinking about him frequently; more than usual. But she knew she had to let go; let him finally go. 

She thought that maybe a nice roasted piece of meat and a warm pudding would lift her mood. Maybe just a little. Maybe just for a short while. She wiped a stray tear from her eyes as she carved the glorious roasted leg. 

At least now, for one last meal, he would be with her.



The goodest boy



Tiger was the first dog that I ever had. Small, golden and very clingy – always wanting to be around me; I never had a moment of privacy when I was awake. Interestingly, he never bothered me at all when I slept. Not to pee or to be fed midnight treats or to snuggle up beside me during cold winter nights. 

The night after he passed away, I laid my sleepy sad head to rest on his fur-covered doggy bed. 

I awoke at about 2 am – to complete darkness and a soft gentle hand whispering good doggy, good Tiger.



Shiksha is a South African of Indian descent. She uses poetry (mostly) to express her internal and external struggles and journeys, inclusive of her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Mostly, however, she writes in the hopes that someday, someone will see her as she is; an incomplete poem. Her work has been featured (on/forthcoming) in Mixed Mag, Aerodrome journal, The Daily Drunk, Visual Verse, The Kalahari Review, Brave Voices, Glitchwords, Petrichor Journal, Small Leaf Press, Versification, Green Ink Poetry, Resurrections Magazine, amongst others. Twitter: @ShikshaWrites

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