Reena Sarju 


Hands like velvet 
Uprooting them  
From earthen blankets 
They once nestled within 
Held by the shadow looming above
Whispered to with dandelion seeds  
Of ephemeral promises  
Its language twisted as feral vines  
That sprawl boundlessly  
In contradicting knots 
Awakening in unfamiliar rigidity 
In a room as ornate as their leaves 
Their colors consumed by glimmering paint  
Covering them like new skin 
Unable to tell themselves from one another  
They watch the hours fall 
Like thorns disregarded 
From the glass that holds them 
They watch the gleaming coins   
Float into familiar velvet hands  
Profiting in the amusement 
Of its gilded schemes 
They watch as the countless opulent strangers 
Watch them with eyes that pry 
Weakened by the saccharine water of their praise 
The adulation of the strangers end 
Where their glossy concealment begins 
The gold that confines  
The flowers 
Fade with time  
Like the strangers they entertain 
Within the chasm of excess 
The gilding does not disguise 
The size, growing deeper  
The bareness remains  
Even with gold paint  


She sits on the stoop 
Of the apartment she brings color to. 
Warming people with smiles, 
taking away the frigidness of the city air 
Her windowsill garden, a pocket of old places 
For the parrots in the city 
Bursts of jewel-toned wings amid the grey smog 
She feeds them with oranges from the market, so they feel they belong.

She waters the wildflowers 
And even the weeds, brazen in their conquest of space  
Breathing like no other breath matters 
Intimidating the sunflowers out of their color 
As though the sunset wrings itself out for no one else  
Like the passenger with the withering glare on the train, persisting without breaks 
there is no difference, when the nebulous black holes for eyes 
Swallows perspective all the same 
Yet its hunger remains 
Only in her glasses, am I clear 
Reflected with the bursting peachiness of the afternoon sun 
She has plastic rainbow alphabet magnets on the white linoleum fridge  
Marks of familiarity 
Like the lines on her skin that tell me who she is 
That tell me who I am 
The sky that melts into deep violet 
The flushing swirl of purple hues  
Like the blanket of safety she carries within  
A reminiscence of memories  
I call her Grandma Sylvia 

About the Author: Reena Sarju is a nineteen-year-old South Asian-Canadian poet based in Scarborough. She is a second-year student at the University of Toronto, working towards a double-major in English and Creative Writing. Her poems originate from her lived experience, with a focus on identity formation alongside societal challenges.