for Roshan


A pair of wings prised apart
a grin sealed into thinness
by glass and board


‘Look children,
a Royal Assyrian butterfly.
It is from Malaysia.
See how blue it is.’


The panel tilts
light catches
and a glance of gems released to brightness
clamour for colour


Here, the midnight depths of Batman’s stern command
and Simba’s chequered roar

splinter jagged blues of Thomas as his pistons turn
a sleek arc and a cascade of silver notes tumble
from the Piper’s flute as I march past the nursery door
before someone swipes the magic from my lips
and I breath fire: Godzilla


It is Patrick (alias Robin)
whose eyes now seem opaque


‘Why are you brown?’ he asks


Silence of the slammed door
The colours of my voice sealed in parentheses of glass
a butterfly, almost


published in Asia Literary Review

In 2012 I was selected as the Sri Lankan representative for Poetry Parnassus – an international poetry festival that formed part of the Olympic celebrations. Each Olympic nation was represented by a poet nominated by the public, making up what is believed to be the largest poetry festival in the world.

‘Patriot Games’ is in the Olympiad anthology, The World Record, introduced by Simon Armitage and published by Bloodaxe. All the poems were performed and filmed at the Southbank Centre during the week-long celebration of global writing:



‘The Waves’ – a prose poem written just days after the Boxing Day tsunami and  first published as a story in Wasafiri – is one of a number of my poems that have been translated into Spanish by Gioconda Belli, who performed them alongside me at the 9th Granada International Poetry Festival, Nicaragua, in February 2013. The translated poems have since been published there.

Minoli Salgado