Poetry & Prose

The Black January

That day, the house where his body was lying,
was abandoned like a graveyard
The last sip of the tea served for a sleepless sigh,
had also gone cold.
An ant that was behind time to save its breath,
was heaving, begging for life 

Throwing the cold water on the lawn,
leaving the empty glass on a vacant chair,
I looked down on the land
without setting eyes on clouds

The sleepy things on grass crowns
were the firefly-ruins
that slipped through an uplifted fist
of a purple star,
that had been abducted
by the rainclouds.

The white glitter on frangipanis
were only the morning fragments of
sudden torrential snowfall
upon Kollupitiya.

Signs of dusk were spreading
when Mount Lavinia police
had finished writing the complaint
about the dawn’s arrival
without informing the sun.

However the night ascended instantly
even before dusk.

So the court house was desolated  
as the history had broken into the printing press
and inflamed itself.

‘Even January is over’
She flung a stone at a cloud
My thoughts fell on the ground

‘The whole year is a synonym
to the word January’
I whispered.
She smiled.

Letting the clouds pour in I said,
‘only memories would be left in a void
where the entire life is being snatched’

 

Manjula Wediwardena 

Translated from Sinhala by Dilini Eriyawala