The world is your oyster
A License to Dream
by Shirani Rajapakse

If I took the wheel I wouldn’t see
trees standing tall lining roads,
a guard of honor as I
pass, bending branches to caress or
gently tap a strange melody on
the hood. I wouldn’t notice expressions
on pedestrians faces, bored, anxious,
wondering why the bus hasn’t arrived as yet,
some talking animatedly on phones
some staring into the distance
cooking the dinner inside their heads
or doing the daily accounts. I might not
catch the dogs lively discussion at
the side of the shop or the angry man
berating the bus driver who almost knocked him
down in his haste to gather commuters.
I wouldn’t be able to stare at people inside shops
wondering what they are doing,
admire the fancy window dressing
that tells me that would be something I
might need. I’d fail to chance on dreams peeping
out of the clouds inside my mind and
watch them unfold frame by frame
while I let eyes gaze at the blur outside.
I would miss the scenery rolling past
as I ride on out of town, mile upon mile
of green mixed with blue sky,
touches of red brown from houses
dotting the sides as I whizz by, sticking
my head out to let the wind play with my hair or
turn my face towards the winking sun,
stare up at the power lines
running faster than the clouds above,
count birds flying high and try to discern
their tribe, see flowers in gardens, gates open in
welcome, people standing outside homes
talking watching the world go by or
turn my head to the other side and gaze upon
aquamarine waters rolling in, in, in,
their white lace tipped frothy edges
a dancers skirt lifting up as she kicks her heels
to flop on golden sand,
admire the myriad shades of the setting sun
colouring the sky or spy the moon peering
through a curtain of creamy yogurt cloud trying
to join my journey. If I took the wheel,
oh what I’d miss.

PHOTO: “The world is your oyster” by Pixie Bliss, used by permission.


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).