[Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of poems submitted by the author as entry criteria for the Write to Reconcile Programme, which brings together emerging writers with the goal of writing fiction, memoirs or poetry on the issues of conflict, peace, reconciliation, memory and trauma in Sri Lanka, post-war.
Featured image courtesy Sltoday]
Some suicides are never recorded.
She stared at the pill in her hand
Reflecting on all that she had done,
On all that she thought it would be.
Her family hated the Tigers:
The reconciliation of violence with freedom
Was one they could not legitimise.
Her words were her weapons,
Her books, soaked up her fire.
“Their cloth is not the same”
A polite way to reduce
A 26 year war; decades of inequality
Into nothing more
Than mere caste.
But 3 years ago, “they” became “I”
And “we” is lost
in the intensity of that cyanide.
She fought as she was taught,
Her tongue was the sword she bore every day,
Her degrees cloaked her body
With the strength to push back.
But the inequality never ceased;
The discrimination did not desist.
Her people continued to suffer, and
Her words, were losing their shudder.
The catalysts that led her to join
Are the same that brought her here today,
Staring at this pill,
Wondering why it came down to this.
What she has done since joining –
Each ripple of suffering she caused
Shed a layer of herself, irreversibly.
Each family destroyed by her actions,
Haunts her daily existence.
The cloak that clung to her has unraveled,
The swords in her mouth are blunt.
The cyanide absorbs her pain,
The finality almost feels sane.
If she had strapped her body
To the cause in these final moments,
This suicide – her suicide –
Would surely be recorded.