Frostwriting

Six Years in Sri Lanka

by Wilda Morris

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A little luck and the money
from my father’s will
and I was touring the world.

I settled down for six years
in the Sri Lankan highlands,
married a Sinhalese artist.
We carried paint
and canvas to the rainforest,
painted bromelaids, epiphytes,
and the purple-faced leaf monkey.

At Yala, we watched a leopard
limp off the dirt road,
followed him into the jungle
till he hid himself in underbrush.

Each year we hiked to Kandy
for the Esala Perahera.
On the day of the full moon
we watched dancers, drummers,
whip-crackers, torch-bearers,
and caparisoned elephants
parade the streets, bowed
when Maligawa Tusker passed by
with the canopied reliquary
containing a replica of Buddha’s tooth.

When Tamil fighters came,
I hid my love beneath coconuts
picked from our palm trees,
told them he’d gone to India
to paint the Taj Mahal.

These are just a few
adventures in that other life
I never lived.

Wilda Morris is Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons of Chicago. Her poems have appeared in a variety of print publications, including in The ChristianScience Monitor and The Kerf . The Rockford Writers’ Guild published her book, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant. She is a winner of the 2009 Prairie Poetry Award from College of DuPage. Her poetry blog is found at wildamorris.blogspot.com .

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