Exit Wounds (Soldier and the Tamil Girl)


A proud soldier of the state inside a bunker
A canvas about to be painted
In shrapnel wounds, blood strokes,
Dappled red, turning white to a paler shade.

He was telling a story inside the bunker,
How the beautiful Tamil girl with a pottu
Was a goddess and all he wanted was things to be different.
Love was not a graveyard of palmyra fruits
It was like the meandering Mahaweli river
Crossing tea plantations to a perfect harbor
Passing borderlands, where ecotones
Are an admixture of coconut and palmyra.

It only took a fraction of a second to vaporize one soul,
Fading into memory. Two palms trees in the midst of war
Unable to grow in the same piece of land.
Nevertheless, bearing inflorescences
That could yield honey and toddy – love and lust.
A soldier and a girl only wanting what the heart wished for.

War is a scapegoat of hate. It carves with iron,
Little barbed wire fences of the drifting heart.
And the heart is like a boy who will tear
His flesh climbing those helical wired partitions
Just to meet a girl on the other side.

Love is the perfect wound that never heals.
And a girl with a pottu will learn about her lover’s fate
And drop to her knees, while tears outflow through impaled sockets.
Then, she wipes off her pottu in front of a mirror
And replaces a colorful dot with sandalwood paste
And a little ash from a coconut shell.

She was one minute, a woman in love
And the next, a widow of the killing fields.
Love stood dammed before she could embrace
The whitewater and it seems legacies are born this way.

And where there are no gravestones and epitaphs
There are stories untold, trapped inside
A torture chamber, called the human heart.

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