Indran Amirthanayagam

Indran Amirthanayagam directs the Regional Office of Environment, Science, Technology and Health for South America, based in the United States Embassy, Lima. A member of the United States Foreign Service, he has served as Public Affairs Officer in Vancouver, Canada,  Monterrey, Mexico, and in Chennai, India. He is a poet, essayist and blogger in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese (http://indranamirthanayagam.blogspot.com).  He has published six collections of poetry, including The Elephants of Reckoning ((Hanging Loose Press, NY, 1993) which won the 1994 Paterson in the United States, and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press, NY, 2008). A new collection of poems in Spanish, Sol Camuflado (Camouflaged Sun) has just been published in Peru ( Lustra Editores, Lima, May 2011).



Off the Field

In the end we have only ourselves to pick up from the grass,
the bed, the gymnasium floor. The dead will have their say
in dreams, and fond ones too, how the boy used to laugh

when chasing the ball on Duplication Road, or the girl back
in the village, shyly accept the glance of her neighbor’s son,
by the well, over a garden wall, the victims, the left behind

after the tsunami or the shelling without end, abroad,
processed, rebuilding their lives in the company of
Australians or Canadians, new people, while the distant war

on its nightly visit to parents, single or a pair, does not curse
the kid born away, who loves the latest fad on satellite radio
and the girl in his class who sports an infectious laugh.



Sharing the Load

There are friends who travel part of the way, then drop off
into the woods, I miss them in the darkness and thank them

here for their time–the one who sliced the last stanza off
a poem which later became  another man’s favorite to speak

in the ear of love and feel its breath whistle by the lobe,
to eat and be eaten, write as Cyrano de Bergerac, thank you

for giving me the chance to serve. And the other who said
I have a secret country in my verses, that lends color

and light to my images,  Alastair, let me write your name
although you said you cannot carry books any more,

that the local library must do. I understood. I have
moved a library through the Americas and the books

are dusty, creased and tired and many still unread,
time to house them with good air flow and a bookkeeper,

somebody else, a young man or woman, my own children,
if they wish to carry the load. There is gold in the paper

and lead, memories of a far-away life, with elephants
crossing at dusk, white ants hungry for pages.