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Thushanthi Ponweera: Ruined Beauty


Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/g-CfYCT1kM0) 15.05.2022.



Colonized


At Borobudur, at sunrise,

we walk among the statues

of the Buddha.


Busts rather.

Literally.


Neck to torso,

No heads.


The sunbeams illuminate

the remains.


Buddha spent his life

searching for the truth

till he found it.


And yet these headless busts

seem to be lost.


Waiting till the ones

(the looters, pillagers, thieves, criminals)

who separated them

decide that

they deserve to be returned

from the museums that proclaim them

theirs.


We stare at these pieces of

ruined beauty,

our tour guide

and us.


One Indonesian,

Two Sri Lankans.


Divided but united

in our understanding

of loss.



About the Author: Thushanthi Ponweera is an author and poet from Sri Lanka. Her debut middle-grade verse novel I am Kavi is forthcoming from Holiday House in 2023. She is a former We Need Diverse Books mentee and a blogger for the same organization. Her writing reflects the frustration she feels at the inequality and injustice she sees around her, and also the deep love she feels for her island home. Her poetry has appeared in The Pheonix Rising Review, Versification, and Glitchwords among others. You can find her on Twitter @thushponweera and on Instagram as thush.


 

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