Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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by Chandi Sinnathurai

The Blood-soaked Jasmine

Jasmine Mallikai

She was barely sixteen
When she disappeared suddenly one night,
Mallikai,* our little thankachi.**

We searched under the dark sky everywhere.
After a long night, the village head-man asked:
Could it be that our little flower has been snatched by hungry animals?

Mallikai! I screamed into the dawning sky.
Only the wolves and the stray dogs howled back.
Amma held her womb and wailed: thankachi.

The morning skies turned bright red and mauve.
An old man who had been to the bushes came rushing.
He stammered in anger: I saw Mallikai in a pool of blood.

Where? Where? I screamed in anger.
We sprinted like angry leopards.
Mallikai, our little thankachi.
There she slept like a withered garland.

The hyenas have devoured every petal…

The Parai Melam,*** wailing horns and mourners
The fire is lit; and the flame has engulfed Mallikai.

Amma returned home – to an empty space,
Knowing that her son will not return.

The flame that engulfed Mallikai
Has enflamed her sisters and brothers…
They will now each wear a garland in memory of Thankachi!


* Jasmine
** Little sister
** Funeral drum

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