The Shades of Us

Kathleen Esfahany

Once the day breaks
and we awake
we first open our eyes and take
in the light around us

Reflected and absorbed by objects and
Processed by nerves that pulse and pass
To the cortex
Creating the miracle of color
In our eyes

Above us the sun is bright
Effervescent with light
So take my hand and follow me
To lounge beneath these trees and with
These pencils of color
Sketch with me
Our realities

Golden chalk glitters from my fingers
That create the curls and curves of
A contented Buddha but
My fingers also itch to sketch
The saffron winks of rice
within the Persian dish Zereshk polo

Vermillion red reads the pencil I take
to etch lanterns and flowers that rain in
petal-filled showers
under a moon who may or
May not smile the night we dance in delight
For the newborn year that will
greet us at first light but

The composed Cat curled on my page created
to commemorate
Bates your own drawn Rabbit that
hops and skips across your canvas
2000 is the year as I wonder
What do these shades of color
mean to us?

Maybe we agree on shades of
Blue and green for
Seas of grass and aquamarine and
Everything that dances
in between

But your colors live and breathe beneath
The neat lines upon your sheet
But mine swirl and combine and mix to create
A result of my parents—
Refugees fleeing across my
painted blue seas in search for peace

Through the colors on your page I see
your reality take shape yet the shades on
your page cannot escape
My memories and culture which
carve out space
to fabricate another
meaning in my eyes

Eyes that pulse and receive light at
A tempo that taps a timpani beat but
a rhythm
still different than your own

It’s clear to me now
Under these trees
that the reality we share
Is not the reality we see

But that is the beauty of
Color and light and
Eyes that show us as close as it can
How it must be
to live one another’s

Maaya Prasad