Spring 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1996 |


As a child, on my way to school, I watched the fire crackle in the blacksmith's shop. A boy sat, smiling, fanning the flames.I didn't notice his eyes then, misty with pain, or his hands as he worked with the bellows, a finger broken, sores on his thin wrists. A kingfisher swooped above my head, calling. The morning wandered about at random, neither real nor fiction, the ruins of my grandmother's tales where my voice trembled at the edge of things. The blacksmith's shop is gone now, and childhood sits in shadow like an eye in a face that is dead. So the door was opened to hunger and suffering. Outside, the thick and strange movement of human life. Today my old, insufferable motherdoes not smile. She can't stop anyone from a single suffering and so she can't stand distance and silence. I look through the morning into another distance, where a dead turtle lies on the soft sand of a beach. And into one morning, in which miracles don't happen. Just the desperation of standing at some inv

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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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