Red, rosy, and full they cluster
in unusual collectivity
these kehel-mal, the plantain-bloom
under an unfamiliar, coolness-dripping roof
trembling for the fingertip touch, pick, and cuddle
of ladies made elegant with blush, paint, and perfume.
And don’t eye-sweep
the foot of the mighty Jak tree
there’s no reason to sweat, not any more
for these blessed seeds;
they are packed and ready-to-go
into the hands of gentle men
clad in the leg-baring shorts
made for evening ease.
© Ariyawansa Ranaweera. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Malinda Seneviratne. All rights reserved.