Photo courtesy of KLCC

I put on a shirt today with red and blue stripes

bordering a sea of white, and wrapping my legs

a pair of blue jeans, my hair black as crows


that cawed in boyhood mornings in the far-

away island where I first tasted America

in glasses of bright orange kool aid neighboring


girls offered us after play. They were daughters

of an American diplomat, straw blonde migrants,

whose ancestors left Sweden and Norway to till


the American plains, now showing a Tamil boy

the latest inventions of that promised land where

the since discovered and devouring darkness


was covered up in grand scenes of

conquering man and howling natives.

I cheered those cowboys on the screen


sported a toy pistol and insisted my younger

brother play the Indian. Life has since taught

me how to be the Indian, the man without


arms, brown-skinned man, native whose

symbiotic dance with herbs, trees

and buffalo rudely exploded. Buffalo roam


still in a few national parks. In Sri Lanka

a few thousand elephants remain forging

already trod paths. We can only pick up


where we find ourselves to build a society

more in keeping with the sap of our dreams,

that promise inherited from seers,


revolutionaries, in violence, in civil

disobedience, in tragedy and in swift passage

of laws during the periods of mourning,


of reconciliation, after Kennedy, King,

Tiruchelvam, Kumaratunge, Write

the names of peacemakers in these verses


Remember them today as we celebrate

the return of the Dream, President Joe Biden

and Vice President Kamala Harris at his side,


fully empowered and glorious Indian,

Jamaican and American, the last voice

in the room, the next in line.