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Cloud Ink

by S. Niroshini
30 January 2020

Brother has a scar. It takes the shape of Africa on his slim chest.

An accident of childhood, it is the remnant of his claim

 

to an unobserved tumbler of boiling water at the age of three.

The delicate skin of his left pectoral makes a strange

 

map. I see the burn-mark now in a picture of us standing

in what was once the sea. We are in Kalatura in an island country

 

that used to be known in the epics as Lanka—

Ceylon, Serendip, Ilankai         a place which glitters.

 

He is bare-chested and wears a blue towel as a sarong.

I stand shyly, fully clothed. In that moment, the sky, the sea, the clouds

 

stand boastful in various shades of indigo. Except for the moon

(which may in fact be the sun) that glows the colour of coral

 

portents of a world that no longer exists following a wave

that reached the innards of the land. A fisherman stands

 

in the background next to stilts. They are, I imagine, the inspiration

for Calder and Miro. There is a myth on the island in which

 

such men sailed to Antarctica to hunt for blue whales.

I picture their faces wet and gleeful 7,156 miles from home.

 

The mark on brother’s chest faded as he grew into adolescence.

I think of him now as a young man walking to work

 

under a once-autumnal shade, holding the hands of a beloved.

 

 

Illustration by Isuri

 

About the Author

S. Niroshini

S Niroshini is a writer, poet and artist based in London. Her work focuses on the intersection of language, art, history and the body. Her work has appeared in magazines, books and projects such as The Good Journal, On Bodies: An Anthology by 3 of Cups Press, Token Magazine and Bedtime Stories for the End of the World.    

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