Lalini Shanela Ranaraja


I knew you were waiting. The cement curb chafed my uncrossed ankles and he eyed the blood moon through the viewfinder and I knew it was only a matter of time when he asked me do you want to get closer and I told him to take the path by the water; I knew it was only a matter of time because you were waiting across the water where the woodsmaw gnaws the fountain’s waves, and beside the water I stopped, I turned, I met your gaze. It was quiet until the fountain turned off. Then, it deafened, then you opened the eyes in the back of my head. It’s been too long, you said, I’ve missed our conversations. I turned to explain and he wasn’t there; he kept walking, he was gone, he was no longer within reach. Your laughter shook the owls from their burrows, the coons from their trees. See, I know you best. You flared your tongues and their murmurations pinned me, buoyed by the burned black of your starless eyes, your vicious warmth, how solid your water felt at my feet. Your moon is a wound carved out of the sky and your man cannot tell your fears from your lies. You spread your wings and I counted your feathers, watched them spear the night’s mouth like a lizard’s ribs through leaves, and the red moon rolled over and went out as you unspooled everything I was trying not to believe: you don’t need to pretend with me. 

Lalini Shanela Ranaraja is a multigenre creative from Kandy, Sri Lanka, currently based in Illinois. She holds a BA in creative writing and anthropology from Augustana College, and her writing has been published in ANGLES Magazine, Club Plum Literary Journal, Entropy, Lammergeier, Off Assignment, Sky Island Journal, Strange Horizons, Transition, Uncanny Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a submissions editor for Uncanny Magazine. More of her work can be found at

A Song for Lalini

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