Monday, September 20, 2021

Ninad Bhat’s “Batteries” is the winner of the Synapse Storytelling Contest Creative Writing category. The poem introduces an everyday, offhand idiom of the pandemic and turns to search for deeper meaning about stolen time, privilege, and racial injustice. With controlled and skillful turns of poetic phrase, the writer rapidly layers images atop one another and suggests that time spent in stillness, voluntarily or under lockdown, can open more questions about belonging than first expected.

Every day

I hear so much

About recharging my batteries

To take this time we have

been granted


is it time taken

stolen from some other life

here dying from a

coded invasion

camouflaged in the language of


or illuminated by the

spark of a bullet firing,

the gleam of sweat

                      on a neck


by the thrust of a knee

           so I sit here

watching electromagnetic waves

tumble their way

through my batteries

animating my

copper wiring


do i have the wrong

type of battery

or have they decided

i have the right kind?