I see Malli standing at the water’s edge
Mouth open in shock as the foam of the waves attacks his soles
His arms tight around his chest.
Nikhil is seated in the sand.
An eagerly dug hole holds him prisoner. Golden grains
Trap his tanned arms.
He looks up at his brother, who’s accusing the sea of betrayal
With his big green eyes.
The ocean is before them but they still laugh when they get wet.
This was the day I bought them their Ant Man costumes
And Nikhil wanted to wear his on the beach
So he could “lead the crabs against the sharks.”
I want to march up to them, order them on the next flight out
Away from all this water. But I don’t
Because they have long been carried away
And the thick stream of dark thoughts has only just turned
To drops of sweet honey
And there they stand
On my mantelpiece.
A framed window into an old world.
This poem was inspired by a memoir called WAVE written by Tsunami survivor Sonali Deraniyagala, definitely worth a read.