When you were young you’d draw and paint.
Then your brother said all you could do
was copy down what was in front of you.
So you stopped. Sometimes you start again.
He’s bought you watercolours. He is a saint
but what’s done is done. I don’t,
for more than a rearriving moment,
understand. For his role in your family was mine
in mine. How could I never learn,
till watching you, what sketching means:
touching with your eyes what has been given
again, and again, and again. It’s the way you were raised.
The way you were erased. But I envy your line
that self-forgetful vigilance – its hesitation, even.

Vidyan Ravinthiran, “Artist” from The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here (Bloodaxe Books, 2019).Copyright © 2019 by Vidyan Ravinthiran. Reproduced with permission of Bloodaxe Books.