calder three black stars
How to Wonder About the Sky
by Mohini Malhotra

You wear twilight-slate-blue, colors of a winter sky, an upside-down ice rink
Do you choose your colors each dusk?
You’re still this evening. Your grey-blue mantel is expansive, like you’re dressed for an outing that’s pensive, somber, a requiem . . . 
Or maybe you’re just settling in to write a poem. It’s that kind of a grey-blue, what I imagine to be the color of a thought
How do you see us? Blue, like we see you, or, do you think you’re looking at your reflection?
As I wonder, stars pop out from nowhere, and dangle on your velvet cloak like fairy lights on a tree

It’s the dark, I say, even more than the cold
Dark that swoops in suddenly and swallows your light
The day ends far too early, for me a nightbird, and bones don’t stop chattering
I brew hot tea and wrap a blanket around feet born cold
Light candles that flicker shadows and spirits on the wall — characters right off pages of my book
While tea quiets the bones, and the blanket lulls me to dream

I cheat Night by rising early — stretch the day the other way than my usual
And, I spy the sky-painter, tiptoed on a cloud, brushstrokes of pinks and scarlets and lavenders
A show for those who wonder — who wakes you up Sky?

PAINTING: Three Black Stars by Alexander Calder (1963).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this particular piece in a zoom writing workshop taught by Mary Hall Surface, a DC-based writer. We read a poem by Mary Oliver in the class, and one prompt was to look around us to see what gives us wonder and I saw the sky out of my large window.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mohini Malhotra is an international development economist, adjunct professor, and founder of a social enterprise ( to promote women artists and invest in causes that better the lives of women and girls. She loves language and her fiction has appeared in Gravel, West Texas Literary Review, Silver Birch Press, Blink-Ink, Flash Frontier, 82 Star Review, A Quiet Courage, Writers’ Center, and several anthologies.