Park Road, Colombo 5


The memory always begins with a sepia
Polaroid picture; its clean

white walls, surrounded by amber
dusty streets. Then slowly, it melts

into motion. Being there, was always
accompanied by a light chiffon layer

of moisture on the skin, and Goldie,
our fluffy dog, following any visitor. Ceiling

fans set the slower rhythm
within. Each member of the three generations

in their own sections of the house, the size
of a palace to a curious toddler. Goldie,

really grandfather’s dog, sits by his feet
while he smokes his cigarette and sips

his scotch. Grandma and mum are up-
stairs in their everyday saris, sorting out

stuff. I, more than anyone else, weave in
and out of these places, just there, in

the omnipresent background, watching. At the
back, in the kitchen, the cook is clanging

copper pots. The cumin, turmeric and curry powder,
simmering with the garlic and onions command

a presence at a certain time each day; this memory,
at uncertain times in my life

Christine Ratnasingham

Author: Christine Ratnasingham

Christine Ratnasingham is a Sydney based writer and poet, who was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in England and Australia. She has had her poetry published in conversations, Extempore, Hypallage, Mascara Literary Review and the collection, Contemporary Asian Australian Poets in 2013. She was awarded the HB Higgins Scholarship for Poetry from the University of Melbourne.