New Year’s Day, Sri Lanka 2022

Vivimarie VanderPoorten

My first ganudenuwa[i]
This Sinhala and Hindu New year
was with a hungry man
who rang the doorbell
with his elbow
at the auspicious hour for
money transactions.
He had had his fingers
chopped off
and stuck his hands through
the grill of my gate.
I didn’t ask him
what happened
I merely inserted
currency notes in between
the stubs on his hands:

I don’t know if
such transactions
are auspicious
but then, neither
is hunger

Vivimarie is a university teacher, poet, and translator based in Colombo.

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[i] Ganudenuwa (singular, Plural = Ganudenu) = money transactions that happen at an auspicious time after the new year dawns, as a symbol of prosperity and gain.


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