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Poetry

At the Supermarket

By Ariyawansa Ranaweera
Translated from Sinhala by Malinda Seneviratne
trembling for the fingertip touch, pick, and cuddle


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.

English

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.

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