Fall 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1986 |

Afternoon Ceremonies

The flatness of the earth beneath our feetall of a sudden, the wind left behindin the trees, in between the fingers;and an afternoon monochrome lightwhich pushes the blind mind ahead of time. In all this landdream is lost like unending railway tracks.How true that these hands appearto meet again after months, like two strangers! All lives are not equal. Who would notrefuse to die this way? Perhaps henceforwardvoices from afar will enter the head,substance of an eternal debristhat cannot be cleared up with desire or pain. Maybe in dreams it is easy to handle death,easy to be betrayed by the butterflyfluttering in search of absent flowersor by the cry of the wounded dog on the highwayspreading its bare entrails in the sun.Maybe my dying father is no longer conscious today,a part of our laughter that gives forth silence. In this room of minelast year's calendar hangs uselessly on the wall.In my mother's eyes pain begins to stir againlike a venerable old gentleman who has re

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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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