Spring 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 2 Poetry |

Sickles

Dust seems in no hurry now, sailing the air. A ten-year-old girl runs after her home-bound cows through the ingenious sunset hour, glancing briefly as we pass by but gives no sign that she has seen us. The day's last light surprises us, leaving everyone suddenly on an endless, desolate shore. And a small desire to make love then. Women returning home from fields of ripe grain carry sickles in their tired hands. The cut paddies cling to their quiet perches. How little I understand myself, among children who are mothers before the floods come, wetting the reeds on the shore; among women desired, even as we are indifferent to happenings by which they are possessed. How the sickles shimmer with the reds of sunset hidden in the twilight of their veins.

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Author of sixteen collections of poetry, Jayanta Mahapatra’s latest volume is titled Bare Face. He has read his poetry around the world and is widely anthologized. He edits the literary periodical Chandrabhaga. His recent work has appeared in the Sewanee Review.

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