A Letter to a Sinhala Woman

Posted in Poetry by Karthick RM on January 21, 2012

I write to you today
as a woman.
A woman
who is now asked
to reconcile
with the occupier of my home
the assassin of my lover
the violator of my body
the murderer of my innocence…
No, I will not ask you
‘what should I do?’
for I already know
the solution

But let me ask you
what did YOU do?
Did you hear the grenade
exploding in Koneswary’s abdomen?
Did your lips utter the screams
of Tharshini?
Did your face feel the warmth
of Krishanti’s tears?
Or did the hands that silenced Isaipriya
silence your conscience?


You poured kiribath
in the mouths of men
who poured their hatred
on our bodies in Vanni.
Your children burst crackers
in Colombo, in Kandy
even as shells and clusters
burst on the heads of ours
in Nandhikadal, in Puthukudiyiruppu.
Your daughters danced
for your victorious sons
even as they danced around
our mutilated bodies.

No! I reject the notion
that I lost my ‘karpu’!
No! I do not want to curse
god, or fate,
or some unseeable force!
But a curse on the womb
that gave birth to death.
A curse on the breast
that fed a child-rapist.
A curse on the arms
that cradled executioners.
A curse on you,
even as you, ‘sister’,
are a curse on all feminity.
For it was you
who lost your ‘karpu’
through your silence
making you an accomplice
in the crimes of your sons.

Tears? Yes!
But the blood of my children!
But the despair of my love!
But the anger of my heart!

But the truth too!
I have realized
through a six-decade old lesson
that at the end of the day
you are Sinhalese
I am Eelam Tamil
and that, and that alone
defines our separate womanhoods
our separate homes
our separate futures.
And it is only in this separation
will there ever be
no more tears

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