End of war special edition, Peace and Conflict, Poetry, Politics and Governance, Post-War

The Thirty Year Old Boy

I would like to believe
we have been forgiven,
that the end justifies

means, that prejudice
has been copy-edited out
of the nursery reader,

that the black man
with roving eyes
and moneyed breath

is not after all Tamil,
a dirty devil come
to spook our children

at night who wish only
to dream of sweets
and cricket, and how

they pumped
the minority during
the tea-break in front

of the tuck shop
in a public hazing,
not approved

but allowed
by the benign authority,
the Principal

of laissez-faire–
oh let our boys
steam off,

better now
than grown up
and angry with wives

or trying to get a job
in the Tamil-run
Public Works Department,

or the Civil Service,
or even the thosai kaddai.
Of course that is history

now, the Thirty Year
War has been won,
and Tamil shopkeepers

must hide their newspapers
under lungis, and speak
Sinhala at checkpoints,

or while seeking
entry into government

Their identity cards
will betray them
of course constantly,

as we noted in Afrikkan
guidance read in preparing
our civic practice,

the administration
of our post- 1956 democracy
based on the tyranny

of the majority
and the humble

of these once
mighty clerks.
Let them eat strings.

Let them learn
that when one party
wins, another gets

kicked in the butt,
that pottus are walking

to unseemly violations,
that 100,000 relations
are still under lock and key

in the Northern camps,
that cleaning up
must be sped up

so we can get these

potential voters out
to their farms and shacks

so they can prepare
succulent meals
for the hordes of

war tourists,
the gawkers
in search of

burnt-up pick-up
trucks, and the family

who want to see
where their sons
and daughters died.

End of War Special Edition