The leaves on the terra cotta roof learn history from the rustic tiles.
They call it ”colonial”
but I’m reluctant.
(The bodies in the family plot of graves, a stone's-throw away
Are Lankan enough,
thank you very much.)
The house knows its history, and I learn.
The ceiling of the dark room with the rotting rocking chair shows me
How Amma would climb the towering sacks of rice,
Brought in from the harvest,
Pink, blue, and yellow stubs of chalk in her hand,
And draw on the ceiling.
My Crayolas from Sainsbury’s
Had better colors
But the drawings on the wall of our Birmingham flat
Lasted two hours
Until Amma came home and scrubbed them away
My stick figure girls never saw another day.