I see Malli standing at the water’s edge

Mouth open in shock as the foam of the waves attacks his soles

His arms tight around his chest.

Nikhil is seated in the sand.

An eagerly dug hole holds him prisoner. Golden grains

Trap his tanned arms.

He looks up at his brother, who’s accusing the sea of betrayal

With his big green eyes.

The ocean is before them but they still laugh when they get wet.

This was the day I bought them their Ant Man costumes

And Nikhil wanted to wear his on the beach

So he could “lead the crabs against the sharks.”

I want to march up to them, order them on the next flight out

Away from all this water. But I don’t

Because they have long been carried away

And the thick stream of dark thoughts has only just turned

To drops of sweet honey

And there they stand

On my mantelpiece.

A framed window into an old world.



This poem was inspired by a memoir called WAVE written by Tsunami survivor Sonali Deraniyagala, definitely worth a read.






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