Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Poetry, Vavuniya

Measuring (After Nandikadal)

An embarrassment, to forget
over short eats, ignore the bundle

on his back, that sloshed
set of poetry he cannot avoid

carrying, an appendix,
reptilian brain, fascination

with naming elements
of the crime, breadth

of carpet strafing
of civilians in tents

on banks of the lagoon,
while tails for the ball

are rented
and we sit down

to quail and goose,
although elements

of the meal have
no political meaning.

They are foods for festive
or special occasions: here

fundraising, so ordinary
citizens can travel

to see the miscreant
dictatorship, dressed

in civvies, mixed in
with the crowd,

not in a killing field,
drawn up in advance,

but the larger and

masses of the post-war
streets, and report

what they find
before the police visit.