Spring 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 2 Poetry |


Spring. A few light clouds do not give the sky its vastness. Or a cry of someone being done to death.   Seawaves. Wagtails and grass. They are all there. Memory knows, it must be the way I want it to be.   Somewhere I lived as a child. Sometime. Where they burnt things down too, to smoke and ash.   This violence is nothing new. Even spring. Or the sight of an old man, his head between his knees. Or the nakedness of a woman, stripped and paraded in the street.   It is spring, and I dig out the turmeric from the earth. I turn my head up to the rain with my mouth wide open and feel the water striking my teeth.   Were earth and sky taking a last chance to exercise their power over me? To bind me with that impotence which had so often overcome me in the past?   I am still here. To talk to the phantoms of time. As the season of a hundred thousand years starts to speak with its strange voice again. 

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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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