Green Eyed

Due to a genetic mutation
which occurred 6,000-10,000 years ago,
all blue-eyed people share an ancestor
from the Caucasian region – Science Daily

They say the modern Bulgarian word sin
can function as an adjective meaning blue

and that the sky and the ocean appear blue
because of an illusion named Rayleigh scattering.

As I didn’t inherit my mother’s eyes,
I tried blue contact lenses in my teens,

tried to match her shade of aquamarine,
richer than the sea on Greek postcards.

Still, no one ever said, your eyes are sapphire blue,
as my school friend’s dad once told my mum.

Mum said this man looked like Paul Newman,
whose surname she’d been born with,

from the German, Neumann, to mean newcomer.
I pictured their blue-eyed ancestor

resting in her cradle by the Black Sea,
waiting to disperse sin across the world.

I smelled the pines on the Balkan peaks,
heard the wind moving through them:

northward to Varna, Constanta, Odessa,
and on its breath it carried rumours

of a new-born girl, named not for her beauty,
but the mutation in her eyes.

Published in Glass, 2016
Shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, 2016