The Woman Who Stared at the Sun
This is not really my story to tell though I am here because of this story. This is my mother’s
story and she is a mother because of me. So, we are what, a genetic loop? Atoms duet dancing
in spiral orbits?
We scowl at each other with burnt black eyes – hers charcoaled by all that sun gazing because
they were lovers. She was. She stared from barred windows, walked to the edge of the sea and stared. She flew to the terrace of her house and worshipped with all her body, all her mind. Her walls were painted with the sun. Her skin was branded with the sun. She knew every ray by its arc, by the scorched blush tattooed on her cheeks.
Mine are ordinary black. Brown black like my uncles, neighbours, my silly friends who keep seeing solar flares in the rings I blow out from my nose when we huddle to smoke and chatter. I have never asked mother about the heat I sometimes feel in my belly, the great white and red halo that sometimes spins out of me when I am out of control, when night keeps me from what I crave. Why I hate the meager moon living on borrowed light.
Mother must tell her own story. She must describe her longings, her sweaty trysts, communions by bold daylight beside sparkling pools, spangled garden paths filled with feral sunflowers. How she was the girl who could not have enough of tender dawns and sweltering afternoons, who wept every evening as the sun departed and she was left
bereft, widowed yet another night. How she stole a handful
of sunshine –
She must explain my birth in her words.
Written after Kunti, the Kuru princess who invoked the Sun out of curiosity and ended up with a son she abandoned and Hisako Koyama, the celebrated Japanese solar observer who spent a lifetime detailing sunspot sketches that played an important role in reconstructing a continuous sunspot record dating back to 1610.
Anuradha Vijayakrishnan reads “The woman who stared at the sun”:
Anuradha Vijayakrishnan is a writer and business professional living in Dubai. Her work has appeared in Dreich, The Kenyon Review, Magma, Guftugu, The Lake, Borderless Journal and The Chakkar. She is the author of a novel, Seeing the girl, (LiFi Publications) and a poetry collection, The Who-am-I-Bird (Bombaykala Books). Her work has been featured in several anthologies and translated into Italian, Chinese and Arabic (Dar Al Muheet, UAE).She can be found on Twitter at @AVijayakrish but you have to be patient and look very carefully.
Art: Spiraling Moon Flower, an image by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2023. Twitter: @frede_kenter. I.G.: r.f.k.vispocityshuffle.
For more information on Hisako Koyama: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/sunspots-japanese-amateur-astronomer-sun-science