Mythical Drabbles: ‘If Light Doesn’t Reach’ by Mandira Pattnaik


If Light Doesn’t Reach

Mandira Pattnaik

On days the Banyan tree has no shadow, my mother will tie one of my brothers to the tree, like another ariel prop. The illusion of shadow will please them. He’ll venture to speak to our ancestors, asking if they’re happy, coming back at nightfall, if successful.

Of late, the spirits are angrier, and more persuasion necessary.

My mother has run out of sons. Given up.

We’ve since let the tree envelop us, so our forefather’s spirits bless us. The leaves are now hymns; branches go downward and the roots, upwards, to seek salvation.

Truly in communion, we’re at peace.

Mandira Pattnaik is an Indian fiction writer and poet published in over two hundred journals in fifteen countries. She writes columns for Trampset and Reckon Review and is the Contributing Editor of Vestal Review. Visit her at

Insignia 2021: Best Asian Speculative Fiction (June, 2022)

(click image to see book links)

Read more Mythical Drabbles online here!

Featured Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash

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