Third Place Winner in National Poetry Competition
sari sellers in the heat of monsoon, picture it: narrow path
flooded with bodies, fabric blooming silver. i think i am a loose
thread, not brimming ruby but grey, the kind you tug from your
sleeve. a man chatters kannada to my mother and i imagine him
swelling with language: gold spilling from mouth to mouth,
soaring. i speak in shades of cream, tarnished rupees guttered
under tongue. a scared child again, clutching mama’s skirts;
fear peeling from my skin and layering a trail. oh god, the
eyes pressing into my back -- they can sense it. can sense
stars and stripes foaming at my lip, choking my voice. like
earth nestled in andromeda instead of the milky way --
what kinda kid can’t speak their mother tongue?
Maithreyi Bharathi is a rising senior at Saratoga High School in California. Her work has been previously recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards, Poetry Society, and Bowseat Ocean Awareness Programs. Her favorite poets include Natalie Diaz, Ada Limón, and Fatimah Asghar, and some of her favorite books are Little Women and Beloved. In her free time, you can find her reading, eating ice cream, drawing, or filling up yet another Google Doc with an unfinished scrap of writing.