What Do We See When We Look Up at the Sky?

At night I replay
the unreal dreams in my head–
the sky is all vibrant hues,
where I’m stuck in traffic,
and the bus dissolves into a submarine,
and I’m friends with the seahorse,
which is clueless whether to
swim on land, or
run in water.

The day my nephew made
his first painting, the sky looked down
at the V-shaped crows,
the inverted cones of mountains,
the single palm tree,
in the middle of the ocean,
and the tides that always waited,
till the painting was complete.
That night, stars assembled to
name a constellation after
the eight-year-old.

The day my body is nothing
but a woman,
the sky paints itself in maroon,
with embryos of my flesh,
screaming against
the extra X chromosome,
shushed by an overflow,
of seemingly harmless fluid,
into the canal.
It didn’t plead,
it let out a war cry, and
was barred from bleeding red.

The day sun refuses to set,
the sky is suffocatingly sealed,
with all kinds of feathers, not
knowing whether to head home,
or to jump into
the nearest lake,
because even
up above the world so high,
sleep is a luxury,
only attained in pieces.

The day plough cannot
find soil to torture,
the sky is filled with clouds,
that reflect the dry land,
with nerves as fragile as
the promises of local leaders,
like a house with windows,
to those who
were only looking for
a door to darkness.

The summer my neighbours come
wrapped in the national flag,
the sky beyond the border,
bears the tricolour;
the same ones you
painted me in, while I
campaigned for the
right to fight.
For the first time,
I learned love was
bloody red.

The morning my mother cries,
the sky flows like a river,
urging the clouds, and
the stars to collide,
and make noises so that
she can yell at the top of her lungs,
without having to wait till
her tears turn into fumes,
which form beads of sweat on her skin,
which is wiped off,
by the note
father left behind.

Before you ask what I see,
tell me which sky to look from,
and which one to look at.

Arya Antherjanam V is a poet who writes to get the inner chaos out and her works are a reflection of the causes she wants to fight for.

Featured image: Johannes Plenio / Unsplash