In the queue, she gathered an ocean evenly
into her arms larger than the airport.

While children swarm the pristine beach
like bangles in her ginger wrist, one of them

is my mother, waving. Each minute as bleak.
By an edge, coconut palms flap about sealed in rows.

Unrelenting then, the rust-bit gate creaked.
Malayalam like a woman in oiled braids and clips

almost the colour of needle looks on. Which one are you?
Her voice starkly enacting. Which one that left?

Like some lash that serrate backs into meandrous roads
until her welts purpled into neelakurinji flowers.

Where is your nose ring? They’ve changed your
ears. And Time closed these holes where once

danced the jewelled hoops nobody noticed until now.
Piled in some biscuit tin with one finger trace

the river carved darkly, it stays. As the boatman paddled
his flotilla into a thin, leafy, stem of sun.

Rushda Rafeek is an artist living in Sri Lanka.