May 07, 2009

v) fading sketch

Riding threewheeler
along the Galle Road,
hearing the deejays
in accents like ours,
when my thoughts
find your arms wrapped
around me.

I see him strut limb-less
young man on the street
dirt stained, dripping bandages
hang from his feet.
His eyes glazed in anger
roll past the indifference
of traffic filled dust
of a broken metropolis
and femur.

And I recall bailas
on a cabaret dance floor
sensuous surround
in a slow dance of passion,
when once you have grabbed me
and swung round my hips
with your arms still around
and akimbo.

When a naked child straddling
the sharp pavement stones
sits and begs its gaunt
mother for milk
as its father lies crippled
in a stupored surrender
the child keeps on crying

Will I see you ever again?
Will I see them ever again?
In my mind you are etched,
They are sketches that fade.

       and I read in the news
       of a world with no views
       so few words point to people
       with real lives of their own,
       and I shrink from their worlds
       I pretend unreality
       turning down volumes
       as I feed on the news.

woman in water
the waves flood your breath
and you die
as an unknown

your husband and children
no more dead than you.
once a family.
now tangled
in seaweed.

woman in water
the waves flood your breath
and you drift
as an unknown

your mother and father
reached out as you cried.
who knows now
if they live
or they die?

amidst bullet trails
you ran for your child
as the wind
swept aside
biting fears.

amongst sharpened blades
you fled for your life
as the darkness
stinging tears.

now your thali descends
into reefs of the past
where the burdens
of living
lie still.

and your saree is borne
by the currents that ride
in an ocean
where nothing
is still.

yet, woman in water
lament lies afar.
on the shores
of a distant

one woman will mourn.
though unknown and unnamed,
you've become
her possession
of grief.

(c) Charlene Rajendran 1999

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