Indran Amirthanayagam

Strange Heat, Autumn

Ink-stained sky, black bird bands
driven wild, lusty, surprised, flying
every way over Wheaton, summer

heating autumn, dogs, walkers

long-sleeved shirts stripped off

car drivers, passersby seeing eye

to eye, asking, have we bet too soon?
Shall we stay longer, start another
inning, go into extra time?

Dance in the Mind

Daily return to the scene

of the tragedy, bombs

raining on citizens in tents,

then burning evidence,

cadavers turned to dust

silting the bed of

Nandikadal Lagoon,


water heavy in memories

of refugees shouting awake

from nightmares in far-away

cities, seeing, hearing

missiles whistle, asking

for redress from those

who ordered attacks,


their heads, or explanations,

truth telling, compensation,

even if social remedies may

only smooth pain, distract

the mind from its dance

with unburied, unsatisfied

dishonored ghosts.

Indran Amirthanayagam is a multilingual poet, essayist, and translator. His books of poetry include The Elephants of Reckoning, El Infierno de los Pájaros, Ceylon R.I.P., and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press, 2012). His most recent collection is Uncivil War (Tsar Publications, 2013). Born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Amirthanayagam is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.



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