Friday, June 17, 2016

Keep that rag. I have to stop crying

Did they chase his mother
He can't remember
Don't throw out that empty valise
You can fill it with rags or pages
Don't throw out that rag 
You can find an odor in it or soak it with tears or breath
Don't throw out that piece of paper
You can fill it with the memories
You don't have
Or you can fill it with the words she tells you

Is that a conch or a train
In the dark morning
Does it matter
What it says is:
A time is breaking

Did they round up his brother in one of their roundups?
What does he think?
No one to tell him
No one to tell him what his mother thought, running
Down into a ditch
Thorny? Sandy? 
Her rubber flipflops thin, coming undone, slipping off
Thinking of the hate she felt for his connections?

Did his father drown 
In that outhouse in Mullativu
Or some village his mother says they came from 
Because he was sick and fell?
He doesn't know
Or did they throw him in
And he fell into that hell
Or are his suspicions 
Suspicions he'll never answer true
Father was beheaded first
And lasting tale that he was sick
Lost his balance
Fell in
How do you "fall" into a squatter so narrow so that you drown?

What did his mother think
On the six day flight to Wattala 
Refuge with Colombo family a last resort 

The sound of the crows can't answer
The roosters won't answer
The Murugam Temple can't answer
The Pilliyar Temple can't answer 
The Kali Kovil can't answer
The speeding buses won't answer
Your own breathing can't answer
How about the groaning of your mother at night, or this time in the morning
Or the moan of the ponsala monks
Those orange robed chanting patriots
Who storm your place with their ownership 

I have to stop crying
It's not my country
Not my people 
Not my tragedy 
Why is it I feel so close?

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