The Conversation (7 years on)

Your passing was whispered to me…
It was in the morning air as I stood
Anxious and uncertain upon foreign soil.

Stilted conversations, childhood realizations,
After years you were the centre of a symphony,
Looping unceremoniously in your aftermath.

With a stifled tremor, I kissed your lifeless forehead,
Watched you burn, Carried your ashes in an urn.
Consoled your father in his relentless grief.

Who were you papa?
I often felt you were a vile and selfish man,
We loved you in spite of you and yet,
It would seem it mattered so little.
You in your solitude,
Your stubborn wasted intelligence,
Loyalty only to intoxication, to escape.

Yet you shine in fragments still,
You blessed my heart with Africa,
I saw sober shades of a lovely man,
We cherished music, we danced,
You made us laugh.
At times…
You were a father, even a husband.

I only wish I could trace,
Those moments that corrupted your soul,
That tainted your heart so much so
that you were blinded to all you possessed.
“What a waste” they said at your funeral
and I with a heavy heart, I concur.

Did you know what you put Mama through?
What you put us through? I hope not.
It is a relentless submission to life’s betrayals,
I question every bit of light.

I wish we could talk as men,
As we did, when we last spoke.
For Papa I cannot help but feel,
That with each passing year,
That I am you at the crossroads,
And thus a stranger to myself.

I do not mourn your loss,
Though I must confess I miss you,
But how can I when I am your son?
You are stitched into my being.

Perhaps you were the ultimate sacrifice,
For me to grow from the pain of your passage.
So I can be true to myself for as long as I live.
So that I may be the man you ought to have been.


(7 years on)

The mirror of time has tempered my anger into compassion,
For it is clear that you were the greatest victim of your demons.
At times my heart drifts upon the air of some possibility
that I could have reached you…
But I am brought back by threads of reason,
For while I mourn the ever diminishing sound of your voice,
The truth is that the lesson of your life has strengthened mine,
And in this exchange, you are an inseparable part of me.

By Shanil Samarakoon


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