Galle Fort

The walls, the ramparts
Preserve the eroded structures.
And if you’re lucky enough
You will see the lone horse
Grazing on a patch of grass stubs,
Lost to his own bubbling hunger.
Oblivious of strange-colored eyes that loiter
The surroundings.

While in the restaurants
Coffee is being served, over-prized yet
Delicately flavored in hazel nut or cinnamon
A reminder that this outpost,
Even now – as historically – is a fusion
Of colonial genes and native blood.

And still you will see the beggar
Milk the tourist for a 100 rupee note.
And bare and threadbare living side by side
In bikinis and rags. Much like the fortress
That has lost much of his native splendor but survives
On counterfeit beauty.

How little coats of white paint
Make the rugged first-lady of the sea
A born-again virgin, sought by the courter
For an intercourse with beauty.

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