Michael Ondaatje


Wells II

The last Sinhala word I lost
was vatura.
The word for water.
Forest water. The water in a kiss. The tears
I gave to my ayah Rosalin on leaving
the first home of my life.

More water for her than any other
that fled my eyes again
this year, remembering her,
a lost almost-mother in those years
of thirsty love.

No photograph of her, no meeting
since the age of eleven,
not even knowledge of her grave.

Who abandoned who, I wonder now.
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