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Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe
The Warzone in Sri Lanka

There is a place
of burning.

A land where the Vanni-sun flares,
licking shelled palm trees that dot the horizon, straggling into the sky
without a crown of leaves; headless, charred;
where the ground is covered in scrub, swathed in fine sienna dust,
and houses roofless, walls bullet-ridden, rice fields scorched by the sun, burnt by armies, stand voiceless, and
dogs three-legged, maimed by landmines,
wander around scratching shelled houses for food.

(Through this, a hobbled road;
with places to step-off on to,
meeting points, other pathways;
that no longer exists,

Now on this no-longer-road,
wind-propelled, the fire lifts, swooshing into the air;
kerosene slathered
burnt scrub wood, skeleton leaves, bone cinders, bigot sparks;
travelling in every direction,
to burn everywhere.

No longer one place







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