Published in Issue 6 of New Ceylon Writing. Read it below or go here to read the rest.
Colombo – by Shirani Rajapakse
huff and puff their way to good health,
proud of the city’s walkways,
the affluent thrusting their
jelly bellies ahead
as they valiantly attempt to compete
with young trendsetters
their ears blocked to reality,
sweating it out by
lakes and parks dressed
in designer clothes stretched taut
across wobbly frames.
They do their thing,
walking, strutting on legs
that can barely hold so much weight,
serious looks on smug faces,
while community dogs stare in amusement,
calling out to friends to come
observe the show.
There’s a whole generation grown up
on an unhealthy lifestyle, unable to cope,
a last bid to get their act together or
face the consequences,
sprawled on a bed with tubes sticking out
from every corner
while they gasp out in agony and plead
to every God known to man
for a second chance.
Yet hospitals are overcrowded.
They are as popular as
restaurants and watering holes.
Every minute someone’s sick, every minute
someone needs medical attention, and
every minute someone dies in
a lonely old home unable to cope, away
from families that have
no use for old flesh anymore.