Reminiscence: A poem by Shirani Rajapakse
Biting cold in a foreign land, dressed
in cotton for a Sri Lankan summer. Chilled
to the bone I watch the boats come in. Frozen
winds blow from the north, smells different,
unlike the hot pungent air of home. Raw fish
not quite dead squirm in the net their eyes
pleading for solace where there is none.
They are food in this country that see no reason
to treat them as life with desires like you
and me, feeling pain and fear. Sanctioned by
God that it’s alright to kill. I chant sutras
softly to their soon to be lost lives as I turn around
and walk away into the darkness unable to look
at the dying anymore. The gloom settling
in from beyond the waters cold and frigid. Coffee
gulped down does nothing to warm coursing down
my throat and its back to the old grey road, cobbled
that sounds out my steps as I trudge. Grey overhead
and smoke on my breath. The night sets in like
a lost soul hiding inside an abandoned house.
Shirani Rajapakse is a Sri Lankan poet, playwright and author.