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Volume 25, Number 148,
DECEMBER 2022/JANUARY 2023


The Gout and The Head-Scarf
by Asoka Weerasinghe

The Gout

Will you wait for me
as you are so far away
and I have no means to reach you.
Maybe I will try my paddle boat to
cross the Indian Ocean, swim the lakes
and hobble over the hills and the canyon
and collect you a begging bowl full
of frangipani temple flowers from
the trees along a Kerala roadside.
Will you dance the last dance with me
before I forget my left foot from my right
as the gout has started to cripple me,
and I am in excruciating pain.
I notice that your kisses were flitting
in the Summer air like Mexican Monarchs
but I have not found your lips yet.
Please wear the Buddha's mala necklace
so that I could recognize you
among the other yoginis meditating outdoors
by the foothills of the Himalayas
on Ganges reed mats.
May I have this last dance with you.
May I have this serendipitous moment.

The Head-Scarf

During the quite
starless Bible black
tropical indigo night
before the serendipitous
Katina gathering
I exiled my thoughts offering
to carve on cherrywood
her National Geographic
portrait under the hot sun
drenched Kerala market stall.
I shall search to recall
that secret face
that haunts me night and day
among all those grey­
bronzed smiling faces
in a head covered
with a batik scarf
with a telling smile
that she is ready to accept
her secret lover's gift
of a sacred
sandalwood-bead mala
chanted and blessed
to enrich a yogini's feeling
for my spiritual healing.