Author’s Note: “Veyil” translates as “sunlight” or “sunshine” in Tamizh and Malayalam- the two South Indian languages that I grew up with. From childhood, I was fascinated by the mysterious ways in which its color and intensity affects the mood of the moment in subtle ways. What seemed even more interesting was how, when under it, my black hair turned golden sometimes. And I realized there was a very playful hide- and- seek between the shades of black and brown in the sun’s bare magic that no English word seemed to justify when it came to choosing a title.
Drunken eyes that fleck guavas on the mud will tell you:
caterpillar fleece the size of ants –
orange dashes, black dots,
blow into their whispers a Morse code of sorts
on the exact shade of light and for how long
leaves before rain must wear.
Sunlight is synecdoche
anchored in mood swings,
etched in film memory,
the color of Saturday noons.
In its flare, ashen is auburn.
Charcoal sleeps in this assonance.
Yet no one believes when I say I am a tree –
I can turn the sun to earth
They shut my mouth with melanin.
Are kites ever scorched?
I would say I have a way with light.
Greeshma Gayathri is a recent graduate in civil engineering who occasionally?writes poems.