On the Plantation of Daughters

nidikumba (that you may sleep each night soundly; that your nipples might flush

fertile in the clutch of your matelove’s firstborn; that their fingers might furl

feather quiet in your fist in the dark; that blossoms may light your bare feet

to the ocean each morning, thorning your soles and begging that you tread

gentle, gentler, gentlest, gently, gently—


komarika (that you may find solace when spurned, your fingers searing

supernova around the perimeter of diyas; that even when clay ceases to calm

you will be caressed; that when you ride to battle there will be balm

keeping vigil in the tent; that your hair will grow back as often as

you blade it stark to your skull in mourning, in mutiny, in signaling

beacons and transports of joy—


maana (that you may reign; that your kohl-eyed mudraggled tribe may proliferate;

that paddylands and jungles will be allies to your advance; that protection

will be your brightest enchantment; that each breach you condone

will confer the highest honor; that you may conceal weaponry

in every deepest depth—a feral tongue, a viper spine, unshed tears

and testimonies; that every call to arms will contain

the bellowing rage of the battle tusker—


karapincha (that you may learn of smokewarm backkitchens, of ancients abandoned,

of inherited knowledge, of pestles and mortars drumming the flagstones of interior

courtyards; that you may reincarnate on every trek along the dryhusked paths;

that hearthmaking will transform safety; that incense will charm the altars

of your choosing—marigolds and olinda seeds and tamarind pods and eternity

cached in a flight of corrugated leaves—


gotukola (that you may be hungry never; that you may restore lost visions

and rebirth the eyes that vanish from sight; that you may craft one thousand

livelihoods and count heads duskly by doling bowls of boiling kola kanda;

that in scorched earth centuries you will spring forth verdant and

wild, wilder, wildest, wildly, wildly—


(Editors’ Note: “On The Plantation of Daughters” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, Episode 48A).


Lalini Shanela Ranaraja

Lalini Shanela Ranaraja is a multi-genre creative from Kandy, Sri Lanka. She holds a BA in anthropology and creative writing from Augustana College in Illinois, USA. Her writing appears in Entropy, Off Assignment, Random Sample, Sky Island Journal, Transition, and elsewhere. Discover more of her work at

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