“Growing up in the city” by Shirani Rajapakse Journey with her through childhood (Poetry)

Silver Birch Press

Rajapakse (child)
Growing Up in the City
by ShiraniRajapakse

Climbing the mango tree in my
grandmother’s garden, going up as far

as the fork in the branches,
straddling a low branch I sit with my legs

hanging down from either side
like washing on the line

and gaze at the black cat staring
up at me. Sucking on the mango fallen

on the ground I’d picked up
before I climbed and put inside

my pocket for safety, I slurp through the
sweetness, both hands turned orange-yellow

from squashed fruit pulp. Juice dripping down
bare brown arms spill onto my dress

creating patterns within those already
existing. I lift my arms up one by one and lick

away the dripping juices. Only in childhood
can you get away with things like this when adults

aren’t around to scold away bad manners.
A line of ants scurry along the branch

overhead to someplace else…

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