In the forest of kings…

….the rest of Buried 2 by Michael Ondaatje…

Buried 2

v

In the forest of kings
a Dilo Oil tree, a Pig Lily,
a Blue Dawn Bonnet flower

Parrot trees. Pigeon Berries.

Alstonia for the making of matchsticks,
twigs of Moonamal for the cleaning of teeth.
The Ola leaf on which to compose our stanzas of faith

Indigo for eyelids, aerograms / The mid-rib of a coconut palm / to knit a fence
Also Kalka, Churna, Dasamula, Tharalasara….

In the south most violence began over the ownership of trees, boundary lines–the fruit and where it fell
Several murders over one jak fruit tree

vi

For years the President built nothing but clock-towers.

The main causes of death were “extra-judicial execution” and “exemplary killings.”

“A woman said a man pretending to be from the
military make her part with four jak trees in
her garden as a consideration for obtaining the
release of her son arrested some years earlier
during the period of terror.”

–Daily News 15.10.94

The address of torture was off the Galle Road in Koolupitiya

There were goon squads from all sides.

Our archeologists dug down to the disappeared
bodies of schoolchildren

vii

The heat of explosions
sterilized all metal.

Ball bearings and nails
in the arms, in the head.
Shrapnel in the feet.

Ear channels
deformed by shockwaves.
Men without balance
surrounding the dead President
on Armour Street.

Those whose bodies
could be found.

viii

“All those poets as famous as kings”

Hora gamanak yana ganiyak A woman who journeys to a tryst

kanakara nathuva having no jewels,

kaluwan kes kalamba darkness in her hair,

tharu piri ahasa the sky lovely with its stars

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