This poem was one of 50 longlisted from 1553 competition entries and chosen by the poet Callum James to be included in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize anthology. It lead to the publication of my first full collection of poetry The Glass Puddle.

THE GAZE

 

It was an Indian summer

in Wigan, a fragrant afternoon.

Mother’s orange Frangipani sari

trailed like a peacock’s tail

in the apple blossom,

showered down in reverence

to cushion her steps.

I had been collected from school,

bottle-green and chubby

splashing through the petals

as we walked home.

 

Twenty years later

I developed a plume

soaked in violet and gold,

and mosaiced in confetti

cast from soft hands.

 

Twenty years later

I sit and stroke each feather,

the orange ones now almost red

 

all eyes in the past,

all eyes looking back,

all eyes fanned wide,

 

gazing at the girl

who blazed into a woman.

© Sujatha Menon 2021

*Also published in The Cannon's Mouth, 2021

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