Photo courtesy of Ruki Fernando


This anniversary marks a stage,

a pause in the fighting, does not


a lasting peace reflect( especially

when celebrated as if one party


won). But dictates of reason,

and saving what’s left, and


exhaustion, meant going abroad

as the solution while the attention


span of foreign observers and

sympathizers reached a limit.


They moved quickly to other

conflicts. But mothers and sisters


of the disappeared remain mothers

and sisters bereft and have no closure,


no news, no trials. So for them this

war has not come to an end. And


for me who did not lose an immédiate

family member but various heroes


in the larger and motley family

of artists and thinkers, I invoke


Richard now and Neelan and ask

did their souls, along with those


of other scribes and witnesses–

can one name every one murdered


in one space?–are they at rest? In

that famed and elusive bower


we call peace ( or rather absence

from war) and day to day life


in the island of forget me not

and forget everything as if one


can wipe away thirty years of

war with an act of the mind,


a self-imposed mental armistice?

I write to honor the dead and


I write to remember the war

so at least as long as we are


alive we will burn candles

for those stolen, kidnapped,


wiped away from court

records and some history


books, but not in our collective

elegy, these lines my offering.