Chandeliers in Our Sky

The poet dedicates this poem to her younger brother, Sneh Sonaiya.

Our room wasn’t big, but our sky was.
At dawn, our drawing room morphed into a bedroom.

Papa got us a pack of radium stars.
My brother and I climbed on a chair,
to make our customised constellations.

With each star that we glued to the ceiling,
it felt like we were altering our destiny.

You can be born under a dark sky,
but you can light it up yourself, and that’s what we did.

We carved the initial letters of our name,
by putting together those twinkling stars.
With each star, we trained our fragile toes,
to walk in a universe where we were on the margins.

At night, when we slept with mummy and papa,
we looked up and pointed at our handmade planets and Milky Way.

Suddenly, the pigeon-sized room
became big enough to womb a solar system.
Our pain and our palms,
with dull fate lines, were sucked in by a black hole.

We might be sleeping in a remote village,
under a fan with dusty blades, but in a parallel universe,
we had landed on the moon.

Growing up, I visited a luxury hotel,
and my eyes fell on a chandelier.
A bright, big chandelier.
My eyes were glued to its glossy surface. This took me back,
to my hometown where the tattered ceiling was decorated with radium stars.

To me,
my ceiling, my sky,
and my handmade stars were enough.
Together, they have led me to a Big Bang.
When the Sun didn’t shine on us, we walked away to find another;
after all, the Sun is just one of about 200 billion stars in our galaxy.

I don’t need your chandeliers.
My sky and my ceiling made us who we are.
We carved our orbit.
We are not meteor showers, that come and go.
We are substances made of sweat.
We are supernovas.
We will make our space.

Janvi Sonaiya is a journalist based in Gujarat. She writes on taxation, politics and social issues. 

Featured image: Pexels