Changing Luck- Nerisha Kemraj

Bio: Nerisha Kemraj resides in Durban, South Africa with her husband and two mischievous daughters. While poetry has been a love since high school, she began writing short stories since 2017, encouraged by a surreal, recurring dream that stopped when she finally had the words written down.
A lover of dark fiction, she has over 100 short stories and poems published in various publications, both print and online. She has also received an Honourable Mention Award for her tanka in the Fujisan Taisho 2019 Tanka Contest.
Nerisha holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication Science, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from University of South Africa. 

Famished fingers
search through the remains
of yesterday
For scraps of hope -
just enough to save him
from the hungry demon
Bennie shivers
But it isn't from the bone-chilling cold
of the night
nor the icy, hard ground
It's from the memory of their eyes
as hard as concrete,
staring him down
as they passed him
sometimes pitying
but never caring enough to help

He stops short
Shoulders stooped -
there is no hope today
Curling onto the piece
of cardboard he calls a bed
he lays his starving self to rest,
clutching at his stomach -
willing the crying to stop
Perhaps there'll be food tomorrow
He watches as his neighbour,
a child no older than him,
unfurls a tiny packet;
something to make him forget his hunger
Bennie sees him inhale deeply -
exhaustion transforming into euphoria
Perhaps it is time for him to try some, too?
It would elevate his spirits
He wouldn't need food then
His body would be able to go longer without
because the glue would help him to forget -
just like his brother did
The brother who forgot him
The brother who left him...
Because the monster of addiction would not let go of him
even though Bennie tried to pull him back
It was not enough
His brother was no more
He would not do the same

Dragging the cardboard away from his zombie neighbour;
away from the temptation to stifle his screaming stomach
he could not stay
Tired eyes search to find
an inconspicuous spot
the perfect place -
away from thieving eyes,
underneath the flight of stairs

Standing at the very top
a sigh of relief escapes him -
eager for a good night's sleep
which he knows, will not come
For it has been days since he has eaten
and his body does not let him forget
Lost in thoughts
of desolation
he does not see them arrive
He moves to take his first step
but he plummets to the ground instead
Forced forward by fearless faces
who smile at his demise
Shards of glass impale his head
while they take
his make-shift bed
and leave him bleeding - left for dead
He watches until he can't no more
but he smiles through all the pain
because just then he sees his brother, once again
And he knows that things will not remain the same
Leaving this world behind... his luck had changed

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