Kelani River

the river expands and dries
not taking what is hers
it just does

no time to be angry with our Gods
nor at Nature
nor the administration that mismanaged settlement regulations

we had concrete housing and paved roads
electricity, tap water and drainage
a fancy slum without levees

we rebuilt our floodplain home
brick by brick, each nurtured my swollen eyes
my girl's dowry spent


In the aftermath of the May 2016 floods, I visited Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. I met with several people living in the flood plain of the Kelani River and listened to their stories.  They recalled how they dealt with the challenges that 5-day long flood brought upon them and how they tried to rebuild their livelihood afterwards. This poem recounts the story told by one family who spent their family savings to rebuild their home.