Read time: 1 mins

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.