Akila Gopalakrishnan, Second Prize, Poetry 2016

Spectrum of C

Cocoa

Dusted
rusted
frayed
watermarked
bitter-
sweet
melanin

Chartreuse

Spring and autumn,
forty and hormones;
how does the sky
carry its salt and pepper?

Cerulean

This sky is a spotless mirror
in water where the poet brings
his box of pastels,
they soak my blues.

Cerise

Like pimples, born supple,
smeared with sandalwood paste and
washed with aloe vera, tulsi, neem,
what does one do with
broken dreams?

Chestnut

Cupboards, beds, baskets, trays.
They talk about Burma teak.
He works with particle boards.
Five years, ten years, fifteen, twenty…?
Water – proof?
Termite – free?
Insurance?
Is there one today
when promises return in a coffin?

Charcoal

Q: What if everything crumbles into a handful?

A: We would turn our palms into constellations.

Chalk

Have you counted syllables of stillness?
Have you sought brevity of the quiet?
Or is the distance between us scripted in infinity?

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