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heard at the therapist's by Aditi Bhattacharjee

Art by Nicolas Martin

heard at the therapist's

The scraping of chair.

Shuffling of under-confident feet.

The toughest question of the day –

"So, what brings you here today?"

Sympathy in the therapist's voice –

"You are grieving" she says out loud.

"I know, I know" you do not say it out loud.

Questions. Probing questions. Leading questions.

Names of people past, names of people lost

Mundane happenings that should have gone overlooked

Voice breaking as words make it to the halfway milestone of your throat

Sniffling of snot

Tissues being pulled in quick swishes –




4... at a time

Blowing of nose

Clicking of the pen

The drag of nib on recycled paper

Sympathy growing softer as harder questions are offered

The ridiculous sound of your own voice

Difficult problems spluttering,

Reducing in size when given the language of syllables

Words like accept, believe, breathe, cry, deny, fair, fine,

time, kind, cease, release, low, slow, surface repeatedly

The punctured ringing of the landline at the receptionist's

The painful turning of the ceiling fan

Incoming messages in the therapist’s cell

in periodic beeps of someone sending thoughts in phrases.

your head pounding from keeping from breaking into a full-blown howl

Fear of all of your doubts breaking out

The announcement of the alarm that time's up

An awkward silence that says this is all you get for what you paid.

A girl's voice on the other side of the door

"..But I always had weight issues!...yeah. yeah, I'll talk to you after the session"

Shuffling of pages as the following week's appointment is booked

The lift of your body unsure and shook

Parting assurances

Gathered grievances

The beat of your heart normalizing.

The fading buzz in your head as it recedes

And if you are lucky, this is a bonus:

Kindness waiting silently, outside the whole time

To welcome you with daylight and


Aditi Bhattacharjee is a sales specialist by profession and a poet by passion. When not in her day job she spends her days reading, sipping on chai and looking outside the window of her apartment. She likes to explore the mundane, the everyday machinations of daily life through poetry. She lives in Mumbai with her partner, cat and a growing garlic garden. Her work has been featured in Fall Issue of The Remington Review, September Issue of Ayaskala Magazine and is upcoming in Winter Issue of The Banyan Review, October Issue of Ayaskala & elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram here.


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