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A poem reflecting on the meaning of independence day.

This country isn’t yours to offer,

Upon the conditions set by you.

You can deny me the right to be buried,

Under the soil I was raised on.

You can deny me the right to remember,

To sing in my mother tongue.

You can seize my land, remove colours from the flag,

But you cannot take my right to belong.

You cannot take who I am, what this land has made me become.

You cannot reverse the wrinkles on my skin

From exposure to April sun, you cannot remove

The scars on my knees from climbing pera trees

In my grandmother’s house.

You cannot deny me my memories.

The sea breeze in my hair, the smell of salt in the air,

My fear of jet planes, sounds of explosions, thick black smoke

From the bomb that exploded behind my childhood home.

You cannot contain the feeling of home

Because my mother, my first home, lives in Sri Lanka.

My mother is Sri Lanka.

You cannot deny the blood in my veins is as red as the earth

That gave Sri Lanka its first name.

You cannot evict my loved ones from their graves.

You cannot take back the time.

This country was never yours to offer.

This country is mine.

Even when I am no longer here.

This land will always be mine.