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

Defeat

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

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
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.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.