The poet was born in Sri Lanka, born 1943 but has been a Canadian citizen since teenage years. His work you are most likely to know is a novel which was also filmed: "The English Patient". This poem was written in about 1982.
The picture is of a Rodian girl from Sri Lanka, maybe 70 years ago. The Rodi are a mysterious, beautiful people once treated as untouchables. This poem is about touching.
[Thanx to Alixe, who has exquisite tastes and instincts.]