By Ruchi Chopra

It was a simple conversation between us–
your eight-year-old self curious about
elephant and monkey god breathing through
their paper-thin skins. 
You stared at the print-out pictures of them
pasted at empty corner in our kitchen wall-
a make a shift temple for us during festivals
and ceremonies
from 482 days in our new home.
Somehow you sensed that these gods look
strong resembling your favorites superheroes
your innocent eyes scan these print-out gods
while we pray for peace, safety and solidarity.

Later in the evening you came with a drawing
of your favorite superheroes and my gods
standing together wearing invisible cloaks-
“mom they all have invisible power to save
the world from Coronavirus.”
I made this for Nani. Monkey god is her favorite.
You clutched a marbled figurine of an
elephant god in your tiny palms-
a souvenir from our India’s trip 2011
kept on my dresser.
Reminds me of simple joys that we miss
we breathe anxiety and fear not
simple joys anymore.

The elephant god now breathes fresh air
through its marbled eyes
kept beside the succulents in your room
Your superheroes drawing pasted
with the print-out gods
in our kitchen wall rechristened as
Superheroes display wall.
Somehow your innocuousness has
sensed the urgency of the situation
we are in-
In the evening, we all pray for
everyone’s well-being.
You remind me to look for the
marbled monkey god
for our Superheroes display wall.

Ruchi Chopra is a former journalist, and social media influencer. Born and raised in India, Ruchi now lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her family. She is a bilingual writer and enjoys reading and writing experimental poetry and non-fiction. She explores different mediums of creative self-expression through photography, writing, recycled crafts, and collages. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, journals, ezines, and magazines. You can find her on Instagram at @banjaran_life. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

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