I really didn’t want to see that photograph of yours
You know the one I’m talking about
It’s now etched in my mind
And comes to me on and off
Randomly, no rhyme, no reason,
No time, no season,
Just you, with your lips open
And your silent scream, forever stamped
Your legs spread wide, hinting at, the violence,
I cannot think about
That was executed
On you
There are no explanations
There probably never will be

I prefer that other photograph
You know the one I’m talking about
That’s doing the rounds on broadsheets and online
Looking pretty, in that white uniform of yours
And plaited hair
I heard you wanted to be a journalist in some tribute a teacher wrote
Or was that somewhere else
I can’t remember
Some people are lighting candles today in your memory
I don’t think I’ll go for that
I’m tired of all the talk,
Of how things will change, should change etc. etc.
Nothing has.
You were still gang raped by nine
Doesn’t really matter where

Don’t expect people to remember you next week
The public’s memory is short
There will be some other tragedy
Some more brutal crime
And you’ll be forgotten
All those measures that are being talked about, debated
And the momentum galvanized
Will fizzle
This is the way it is
I hear they’ve arrested the brutes who did it
So they won’t be able to torture
Another hapless teenage girl- which is good
Or will they?
I’m not sure
See sometimes the law doesn’t really work
I don’t know why.

I’m writing this
So I won’t forget what you went through
And to remind myself
of our fragility
hers, yours, mine.

Sashikala Premawardhane

Note: This poem is linked to

RIP Sivayoganathan Vidya

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