River of crumbs

They are eating the photographs


there is no bread

The photographs proliferate


Your excavated back looks suspended

we are looking down on you


And you are caught on the crumbs of buildings

we are standing on that

which stood on you


The space between the crumbled parts

of which you are a part



For your ashen powdered self is

Dimensional and recognisable

I lifted a city off your face


My little ash-boy

My little dust-puppet

Of concrete grey and dusted edifices


Your black eyes are curious


Your toes are lifelike

Your black eyes are liquid


Your cheeks curve like apples

Your black eyes are alive


As we try not to see



Image: Damascus / Игорь М



OL227 cover

Read the rest of Overland 227

If you enjoyed this poem, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four outstanding issues for a year

Sumudu Samarawickrama

Sumudu Samarawickrama was born in Sri Lanka though she’s never lived there. She is an emerging writer currently part of Footscray Community Arts Centre’s West Writer’s Group.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays