Rajapakse (child)
Out of Control
by Shirani Rajapakse

Curls on my head move
this way and that
like bougainvillea in
my grandmother’s garden
dancing in
the breeze. They lift
faces to the sky, wave to birds
flying high or murmur
with butterflies
that flutter in looking for nectar and are
surprised there is none
on my head. Ringlets black and shiny
twisting and turning in whatever
direction they desire and not
how I wish. They
will not turn left when
I want them to
preferring to move in
the opposite direction to my command
or curl and swirl
both ways,
one day left the next day right.
There’s never a time when they rest.
A mind of their own
they thrive on being free
to do as they please
while ribbons and bows cannot hold
or reign them in. They break
the rules. Dance to
their own tunes and
will not ever be held down.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: In my grandmother’s garden celebrating my fourth birthday.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shirani Rajapakse is a Sri Lankan poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Shirani’s work appears in International Times, Writers for Calais Refugees, The Write-In, Silver Birch Press, Asian Signature, Moving Worlds, Citiesplus, Deep Water Literary Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Kitaab, Lakeview Journal, Cyclamens & Swords, Channels, Linnet’s Wings, Spark, Berfrois, Counterpunch, Earthen Lamp Journal, Asian Cha, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, About Place Journal, Skylight 47, The Smoking Poet, New Verse News, The Occupy Poetry Project — and in anthologies, including Flash Fiction International (Norton 2015), Ballads (Dagda 2014), Short & Sweet (Perera Hussein 2014), Poems for Freedom (River Books 2013), Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012, Song of Sahel (Plum Tree 2012), Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, World Healing World Peace (Inner City Press 2012 & 2014), and Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence (Plum Tree, 2012).