Red Berries

Issue 2

The berries at No.52 glow in the golden afternoon light. They reverberate in their redness, the sparkle of them amongst the green trees and blue sky. I remember cycling down this street that day, and noting their brightness, the vivid hue of the moment, burnt into my memory with the ferocity of someone who often forgets.

That day I left a parcel at the post office that held 108 pages of my life, 795g of it, labelled and segmented and paperclipped, to be sent to an immigration office in Tipperary where it was tossed in a pile amongst the lives of others.

These applications that say nothing about the way in which a person stares at a Dublin sky, peering into the grey to see if it carries the weight of rain or the promise of summer; they don’t contain transcripts of the jokes a person has learned to make locals laugh and feel at ease; they do not measure the pressure a person exerts when squeezing a teabag against the inside of a mug.

I remember reading about how people tried to weigh souls, the before and after, the difference between a person and a slab of meat, and I think, isn’t this the opposite? Me, full to the brim with glittering soul, extracting from it the weight of my nationality, the proof of my right to exist on this soil, stuffed into an envelope and handed tentatively to an impatient stranger.

And the way that my brain erased everything around that moment, the enormity of it, the tectonic shift of it, until all I can remember is the feel of the wind on a summer’s day, the stretch of my neighbourhood under my wheels, and the glow of red berries amongst the trees.

Bealtaine in focus: Every issue, Bealtaine will reach out to at least one artist whom we admire and wish to support. We commission them to create something which amplifes their voice and promotes values of intersectionality, inclusivity, environmentalism, and empowerment. This issue we feature Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan as our artist in focus

Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan is a Dublin-based writer and performer from India. Her work has been published in Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets, Banshee and the Poetry Ireland Review, amongst others. Chandrika was editor of Poetry Ireland’s Trumpet issue 9, is book reviewer for Children’s Books Ireland’s Inis magazine, and is on the Board of the Irish Writers Centre.

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