A little girl grows up in a little village near Colombo
She has a mother who does hard labor
At a sweat shop that some American pop star owns.
A woman, with a degree, stitching a tapestry, called a living.
Three generations of women under one roof, in the backdrop
Of a cruel war that made matriarchs of housekeepers.
The little girl has fairy lights in her eyes
Fairy tales in her heart, fairies with halos in her dreams
And the many pieces of her tell her
Of little princesses who wanted it all.
Dream of Malala her mind tells her
Dream of Pocahontas her heart tells her
Dream of Moana her spirit tells her
Yet every dream is as lonely as an oasis
Fogged by a million falling mirages
The Juki machine that her mother pedals
The curries that her grandmother cooks, pale
To a big dream about a white coat and a little instrument
That hears the little sounds the heart makes.
A little girl crushed by fate yet buoyed by dreams
Constantly swimming against gendered currents
A girl who will never be defined by her breasts or hips.
Who one day will hold the world in her clasped palm.
And little girls all over Sri Lanka will look at her,
And dream of that dream —Malini, they will say, is our own Malala