To Kill Mahi

by Vihanga

Ear-rings are made of hanging stuff.
You say that you’re from Jaffna town.
You’re coming from Chennai, on your way to see your sister.
So, your wife, then, should be Jaffna, too.
Language is a barrier. Conversation and the bus move on.

This is on the 3rd of February. Mahinda will celebrate
Independence on the 4th. In Kandy. By the tooth relic.
When I tell of this meeting with you to friend, the friend, jokingly says:
“Maybe they’re, after all, LTTE. Come to kill Mahinda”.
Well, until the 4th, we wouldn’t know that, would we?

“Language – no barrier” you say and this talk
In monosyllables of Tamil and English is quite hard at times, you know,
Specially where tense matters. “Nillamba” you say to
The guy standing by our seats. That guy says nothing.
He continues to stand.

Two months ago, at Gunasena – Fort, two army chaps were at the counter
Inquiring after Tamil-Sinhala dictionaries from the sales girl.
One guy, with cap and potting belly, was more keen on one
With 1500 entries. I was standing in the queue, thinking of you,
Awaiting the military guys to pass on.

Your wife’s anklets should have been bought in India.
You say your son, at Jaffna Hindu,
Wants to be a lecturer one day. At Kandy I help you
Get the connecting bus, buy you guys some rolls and stuff.
Your gratitude is something I was yet to see.

Perhaps, that, too, was come from Jaffna. Don’t think
That I wrote this just to make you into an exhibit.

Just that sleep didn’t come easy, though all night to sleep
I did everything known through trial and error. “Come to kill Mahinda
And you bought them vege roti, too?” My friend laughs and
Moves to another topic of our choice. In the night, I smile
As I re-play that voice. Of my friend, of course.


Image from:

Poem originally published in:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s