8.1


Dusk – magical time
bedtime.
I look at you
marveling at how
large you have grown
how beautiful you are.
you had a rough day
teased
at school.

You chase them around
the playground.
you are fast
an athlete
this is when you score
points
your athleticism
is something they look up to
you are faster than all of them
Run.
8.1 seconds in the 50-yard dash

You stand aloof
choosing friends carefully
older friends do not call you ‘Bombai’
they chat instead –
ask questions about
Ceylon
Tea and Cricket.

Here we have:
McGovern and Nixon
Republican /Democrat
Badges worn. shining.
It’s all so new to you
this proud individuality
extraordinary sense of self

your older friends possess
individuality is paramount
You, your brownness
come from a place
where most are shades of colour
a strong sense of community
and you wonder, do you have to be white
to be an individual?

I open the door, walk in
Sit on the bed, purple coverlet from home
and say:
“George Bernard Shaw thought
Ceylon was the cradle of the human race
as everyone looked an original.”

This pleases you
You fling your arms
Give me a big hug.
Say “night daddy”
School tomorrow
I am sleepy.
I have another race to run
I hope to beat yesterday’s time
8.1

NS. June 2009

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