Sonder

What kills men

There is a man next door,

paid to watch an empty land in Colombo-4;

It’s big enough, city enough to make his master rich.

He sits there all day watching over Marine Drive

and the ocean rolled different blues one after the other.

 

The first week I saw him, framed by my balcony door,

up at quarter to seven,

strutting out straight,

shaved, hair combed, shirt ironed and cigarette in hand-

a man with a mission.

He sat on his throne,

and his gaze cut through the salt dragging down the air

sharp and certain like a bone.

 

A full moon came and went,

and the wind direction changed,

so the clouds

left west.

And, the ocean rolled more blues.

 

Yesterday, I looked closer at his side profile,

while he sat centred precise between

the land’s end and Marine Drive.

 

He was mostly dead.

His chair was plastic and dusty.

His gaze hung limp like noon leaves. And he

was mostly dissolved in sea.

His cigarette was the only thing breathing.

 

My god, I think,

it’s not guns that kill men – not like this.

I must give him a pack

and a book

because dead men are terrible things

to live next to.

              

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Image by Matt Frantz

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